House approves bill honoring Maguindanao massacre victims

THE House of Representatives has approved on second reading a measure seeking to declare an annual special non-working holiday to honor the memory of the victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

House Bill (HB) No. 8963, principally authored by Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, seeks to declare November 23 a special non-working holiday in the entire province of Maguindanao “to honor the memory of those whose lives were brutally taken in the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre and to serve as a reminder that such a deplorable act should not be allowed to happen again.”

In the explanatory note of his HB No. 2221, which was substituted by HB No. 8963, Mangudadatu said that justice remains elusive for the 58 victims of the massacre, including 32 media practitioners.

“More than 150 witnesses and thousands of pages of documentary evidence were presented, but the special court handling the case has yet to issue a single verdict against any of the accused charged with 58 counts of murder,” said Mangudadatu.

Mangudadatu added that the massacre scarred not only Maguindanao, but the whole nation.

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

HB No. 8963 is co-authored by Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado and Pangasinan Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, chairperson of the House Committee on Revision of Laws.