Monday, July 10, 2006

Radyo Cayagano: The radio station that peasants built

Bulatlat, the hard-hitting online publication, writes a beautiful piece about the people behind Radyo Cayagano. "The community radio built by peasants is not about to be silenced permanently," it said.

The Radio station the farmers built
Radyo Cagayano: Burned but Not Silenced

After a three-year preparation, Radyo Cagayano started its test broadcast this May. By July 2, the community radio was off the air, after armed men razed the station. But its unfazed although shaken staff promise they would not be silenced permanently.

By Dee Ayroso

Susan Mapa remembered shedding tears of joy the first time Radyo Cagayano went on the air. Mapa is the station manager of dwRC 90.1 FM, a community radio station which began its test broadcast last May 25. After three years of preparing and hurdling all obstacles, they were finally heard in the mountainous town of Baggao and its neighboring villages in Cagayan province (some 500 km. north of Manila).

On July 3, Mapa again shed tears, this time during a press conference at News Desk in Quezon City. Armed men, suspected to be soldiers, razed the station July 2 early morning. Mapa recounted how she and five other radio staff helplessly watched as the radio equipment, as well as their personal belongings inside the station, were burned.

“Ang nararamdaman ko ngayon ay lungkot. Pero alam kong sa bayan ng Baggao, hindi titigil ang mamamayan, dahil alam ko ang hirap nila sa pagtatayo ng Radyo Cagayano.” said Mapa, 32, and a former broadcaster for Bombo Radyo in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan. (I am sad about what happened, but I know that the people of Baggao will not stop, because I know what they went through in putting up Radyo Cagayano.)

Read the article. (The photo on the left, which shows whatever was left of the station after the incident, was taken from Bulatlat.)

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