The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemns the attempted assassination of Kalinga broadcaster Jerome Tabanganay on Friday and demand that authorities act immediately to arrest not only the perpetrators but, most importantly, the masterminds.
It seems not even the optimism the May 10 elections were supposed to bring is enough to give at least some breathing space from the culture of impunity that has made the Philippines the most dangerous place for journalists to work in.
Reports from the northern Luzon province said Tabanganay, 44, of the Radyo ng Bayan station in Kalinga province was wounded when a gunman shot him at close range as he reported for work to host his regular 7-9 a.m. program “Agenda,” which regularly criticizes crime and corruption.
As he stepped into the station, a man approached Tabanganay and asked his name twice. Sensing trouble, the broadcaster ran into the station as the gunman fired four times, hitting him in the knee and back of the right leg.
Regino Wacas, president of the Kalinga Media Club (KAMEC), was winding up his program “Dateline Balbalan” at the same station when he heard the gunfire and rushed to bring his colleague, who was shouting for help, to a safer place inside the facility so they could call for help.
Colleagues later learned that the would-be assassin was one of two men onboard a motorcycle who had apparently been waiting for Tabanganay to arrive.
The continued attacks on the press even as we wait for the most murderous administration for the Philippine media – it was under its watch that 100 of the 137 media workers murdered since 1986 were killed – to step down should serve as a challenge to the incoming government to take concrete actions to set things right by ensuring the killings end and all those responsible are brought to justice.
To do less would be to help perpetuate the impunity that continues to make a mockery of all our claims to being a democracy.
NUJP-IFJ Media Safety Office
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