MANILA, Aug 18 (Mabuhay) — On the eve of the 1,000th day of the infamous Maguindanao Massacre, Malacañang reiterated its assurance to relatives of the victims that the government’s executive branch is ready to help them.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the executive branch continues to listen to the victims’ concerns, and is particularly willing to offer them security.

“On the part of the executive, we continue to listen to their concerns. As we all know we said this in the past, the offer of security still stands, if the families of the victims who would like to avail of that protection, please let us know at the soonest possible time,” she said.

She also said President Benigno Aquino III’s order to the prosecution team to avoid any delays and dilatory tactics by the other parties still stands.

A vigil will be held in Quezon City during the long weekend to mark the 1,000th day since the infamous Maguindanao massacre that claimed more than 50 lives on November 23, 2009.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said the vigil will start at 4 p.m. at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani near the corner of EDSA and Quezon Avenue.

Expected to attend the vigil that will last until 9 a.m. Monday are journalists, press freedom advocates, families of victims, and artists, it said.

A man walks behind a tarpaulin displaying the names and pictures of ‘Maguindanao Massacre’ victims during a ceremony, marking the 1,000th day since the 2009 massacre, in Manila on August 19, 2012. Philippine journalists and activists gathered for an overnight vigil late on August 19, criticising the slow pace of the trial over a massacre, allegedly carried out by the powerful Ampatuan political clan, that left 57 people including journalists dead. (MNS photo)

“The activity aims to remember the fallen victims of the massacre, 32 of whom are members of media. The continued killings of journalists and refusal of Congress to pass the Freedom of Information Law have underscored the dire state of press freedom in the country,” it said.

“Families of victims will be there to give out messages. Journalists and freedom advocates will also perform,” it added.

In General Santos City, meanwhile, families of massacre victims will hold a press conference at the Forest Lake Memorial Park in General Santos at 4 p.m. Sunday.

This will be after a Mass and motorcade around the city.

Relatives of the victims will also exhibit art works made by victims of media killings.

Social media advocates will also join the commemoration by posting and sharing blogs and photos on the issue.

The NUJP said the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre in Ampatuan town alarmed not only the Philippines but also international human rights and press freedom groups.

“But despite the attention it has received, families of victims of the have yet to find justice,” it said.

It noted that of the 196 officials, police and militiamen accused in the case, 96 were arrested and 76 were arraigned – but 100 of them, including some prominent members of the Ampatuan clan, have remained at large. (MNS)