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FOREIGN AFFAIRS—PHILIPPINES

Senator Wortley, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 139—That the Senate—

 (a) notes:

  (i) that 23 November 2010 marks one year since the murder of 58 people, 32 of them journalists and media workers, in the southern Philippines,

  (ii) the massacre in Maguindanao province, Mindanao, on 23 November 2009 is the world's single biggest atrocity against journalists,

  (iii) it marked the lowest point in the Philippines' long-standing culture of impunity for the killings of media personnel, bringing the toll of media killings in the country at that time to 136 since 1986, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists,

  (iv) this motion remembers their tragic loss, a loss which comes under horrific and violent circumstances, and their loss reminds us of the vital role journalists play in upholding democratic values overseas and at home, and of how critical it is that governments ensure this role is respected and protected,

  (v) many other journalists across the Philippines continue to endure serious threats because of the content of their reporting, and

  (vi) that of 196 suspects in the massacre, 19 are now on trial while 130 remain at large; and

 (b) welcomes the determination of the Philippines President, Benigno Aquino III to bring those responsible to justice and calls on the Government of the Philippines to:

  (i) take all reasonable steps to charge and detain the accused, and

  (ii) expedite the trial process.

Question put and passed.