House bill to honor memory of Maguindanao massacre victims endorsed to plenary for approval

By Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The House Committee on Revision of Laws has endorsed for plenary approval a bill declaring November 23 of every year a special nonworking holiday in the province of Maguindanao, to honor the memory of the victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

Under Committee Report 1149, the panel, chaired by Pangasinan Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas recommended the final approval of House Bill 8963, principally authored by Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu. Co-authors of the bill include Primicias-Agabas and Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado.

On a vote of 261 to 18, the Senate and the House of Representatives decide to extend martial law in Mindanao up to December 31, 2017 in a joint, special session at the Batasang Pambansa yesterday. Inset photo shows Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (left) and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez presiding over the session that lasted more than seven hours. (Jansen Romero, Alvin Kasiban) House of the Representatives (Manila Bulletin File Photo)

HB 8936 provides that November 23 be declared a special nonworking holiday in Maguindanao.

"This is to honor the memory of those whose lives were brutally taken in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre," Mangudadatu said.

"Declaring November 23 as a holiday will also act as a constant reminder that Maguindanao and the entire Filipino nation should not allow such a deplorable act to ever happen again," he added.

He laments that justice remains elusive for the Maguindanao massacre victims, including 32 media practitioners.

Mangudadatu recalled that on the ill-fated day of November 23, 2009, the victims were stopped by more than a hundred men in Ampatuan town.

"All were shot and buried. Others were raped before they were killed. The body of one reporter was never found," he said.

"The Maguindanao massacre left a scar that will forever be remembered not only by Maguindanaoans but also the entire Philippine nation. The shocking event should not be allowed to happen again," Mangudadatu said.