Davao City remembers 1987 DXRA MASSACRE

 The Tri-Media Organization for Peace and Alliance in Mindanao, Inc. (TROPA) spearheads today, August 27, 2009, the 22nd commemoration of the infamous DXRA massacre and the bloody attack on another radio station, DXMF-Bombo Radyo in Davao City.

            The commemoration carries the theme, “Responsible Journalism Towards a Free and Peaceful Society.”

            A mass at 6 a.m. at the St. Peter Parish Church would open the commemoration, to be followed with a wreath-laying at the massacre site in the former broadcast studios of radio station DXRA at the Rizal Memorial Colleges Building along Magallanes st. in downtown Davao.

            A three-hour Multi-Sectoral Forum on Press Freedom would cap the commemoration at the Training Center of the University of South Eastern Philippines (USEP) at Brgy. Obrero.

            ANAD Partylist Congressman Pastor M. Alcover, Jr. and BAYAN Partylist Congressman Jovito S. Palparan, Jr. would be the forum’s main resource persons.

            Invited to compose the Panel of Reactors are Bishop George Rimando for the religious sector, Kagawad Nilo Abellera for the LGU sector, LTC Rolando Bautista for the military sector, PSupt Querubin Manalang for the law enforcement sector, lawyer Rene Villarente for the academe sector, Regional Director Efren Elbanbuena for the government media sector, Engr. Josue de Villa Go of the national government sector, Mr. Billy Parilla of the business and civic sectors, Kagawad Halila Sudagar of the youth and women sector, Brgy. Capt. Rolando Cagay of the barangay sector, Datu Joel Unad of the indigenous people sector, and Mr. Iglesia Ibo, Jr. of the labor sector.

            Four local broadcast media personalities and five innocent civilians were killed by heavily armed men believed to be communist rebels that raided the broadcast studios of radio station DXRA early evening on August 27, 1987.

            News commentator Leo Palo and his volunteer assistant Cesar Maglalang, reporter Rodjie Sagado, technician-on-board Narcing Balani and five civilian guests died on the spot due to multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by the suspected CPP-NPA-NDF raiders.

            Announcer Ferdie “Batman” Lintuan survived the attack but only to be assassinated on Christmas eve of 2007 after his morning radio program in Davao City.

            After causing the carnage at DXRA, the armed attackers onboard a Ford Fiera-type vehicle immediately proceed to attack the former Broadcast Center of DXMF-Bombo Radyo Davao in Bajada but failed to inflict harm on anyone.

            Alerted by the DXRA attack, DXMF personnel that included the brothers Joey and Chito Herbolingo, with the help of civilian volunteers, were able to repulse the attack. Some reports then indicated that at least one of the attackers was killed by the defenders but his comrades took his dead body with them when they withdrew towards Brgy. Mandug.

            The twin bloody attacks – the only one of its kind in the country – have been seen as an affront to the freedom of the press.

            The announcers of both radio stations were then critical against communist terrorist atrocities in the city and other parts of the region.

In fact, the late Leo Palo along with the late Jun Pala, who was also slain recently, were both instrumental, thru their original tandem radio talkshow, “Palo-Pala Connection”, over radio station DXOW, on the awakening of the Dabaweños that planted the seed for the eventual emergence of the famous Alsa Masa civilian volunteer organization.

Fearless announcers led the anti-communism movements in Davao and Cebu Cities and elsewhere in the country in the mid-80s.

The CPP-NPA-NDF used Davao City then as its laboratory for urban insurrectionism and the notorious Armed City Partisan Unit (ACPU), better known as Sparrow Unit. (TROPANews)

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