On Monday, November 17, radio commentator Arecio Padrigao of Radyo Natin in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding gunmen after he dropped his daughter off at school at the Bukidnon State University.
Reports from local police also revealed that Padrigao received death threats days before he was killed. Padrigao was known as a critic of illegal logging in the city.
His murder brought the number of media killings this year to six, surpassing last year’s five deaths, and to 61 the total since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power in 2001.
It also comes on the heels of recent threats to the lives of several colleagues.
Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor, head of Task Force 211, clearly opened his mouth to soon when he boasted recently that government had succeeded in bringing down the number of media killings.
It is clear that government has done no such thing.
If anything, Padrigao’s murder highlights the government’s inability to stop the media killings and put those responsible behind bars.
The government can only earn bragging rights when it shows irrefutable results – the arrest, prosecution and conviction of not just the killers but, most important, of the masterminds.
We call on our colleagues not to waver, to continue banding together and remain vigilant against all attempts to suppress us and the independent Philippine media.
The struggle for genuine press freedom in our country has been a long and painful one and will continue to be a long and painful one. But we cannot waver. We must see this struggle through to the end and the inevitable victory that awaits us and our people. #
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