The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) stands in solidarity with its colleagues and the press freedom community of the Philippines in demanding an explanation from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for her government’s lack of protection for journalists after another radio commentator was murdered on December 2.
According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, Leo Luna Mila, 35, a commentator for Radyo Natin, was shot dead by unknown gunmen at 7pm as he arrived at the radio station in Barangay Poblacion in San Roque town, Northern Samar, in the central Philippines.
Known for his hard-hitting political commentaries, Mila is the seventh journalist killed in 2008, and the 62nd to be murdered under Arroyo’s seven year administration. The death toll for journalists is the worst under any administration in the Philippines’ history, including the regime of Ferdinand Marcos.
Of the journalists killed in the past year, five are radio broadcasters, the NUJP reports.
Another Radyo Natin journalist Arecio Padrigao was shot dead in Misamis Oriental by two motorcycle-riding assailants on November 17.
While welcoming reports from the NUJP that a taskforce established by Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor had identified and charged two suspects for Padrigao’s murder, the IFJ strongly urges all law enforcement agencies in the Philippines to act with the same urgency in the case of Mila.
“It is with great despair that we report the loss of another courageous journalist in the Philippines at the hands of murderers,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“The failure of Arroyo’s Government to show true resolve in protecting journalists in the Philippines is a disservice not only to the media as a pillar of democracy but to the general public whose right to information these journalists defend.”
The IFJ joins the NUJP in calling on President Arroyo to acknowledge the unprecedented number of murders of journalists under her administration and to order the implementation of all measures to prevent further such tragedies.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide
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