CMFR Philippines alert: Radio broadcaster gunned down

CMFR/Philippines— A broadcaster was shot November 17 by a killer onboard a motorcycle in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, a province about 785 kilometers south of Manila. He was the fifth Filipino journalist killed in the line of duty this year.

Aresio Padrigao, 55, of dxRS Radyo Natin (Our Radio) had just dropped off his daughter in front of the Bukidnon State University when he was killed by an assassin riding tandem on a motorcycle. The incident happened at about 7:15 in the morning (local time). Police have yet to determine the motive behind the incident. No arrests have been made.

Padrigao was the sixth journalist to be killed in 2008, five of whom were killed in relation to their work as journalists. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) recorded two journalists killed in the line of duty in 2007.

Padrigao anchored “Sayri ang Katilingban, ” (Know the People) a block-time radio program for dxRS Radyo Natin aired every Friday. Padrigao criticized local government corruption as well as illegal logging activities in his province on his program. He also wrote a column for the community newspaper Mindanao Monitor Today.

Block-timing is a practice in the Philippine provinces where “blocks” of radio time are bought by individuals for their program. Payments are usually generated by the program’s advertisements.

Toto Gancia, a radio announcer for dxRS Radyo Natin, told CMFR that Padrigao had received threats prior to his killing.

“His (Padrigao’s) wife told me that he received threats prior to his killing. The threats told him in effect that he would not live til Christmas,” Gancia said.

Like many other journalists who have received death threats, Padrigao did not take the threats seriously.

CMFR has recorded 75 journalists killed in the line of duty since 1986, 37 of which were slain during the present administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. There have been no convictions of the masterminds, while only two cases out of the 37 have yielded convictions for the gunmen.

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