IFJ Condemns Murder of Environmental Commentator in the Philippines

Media Release: Philippines

January 24, 2011

IFJ Condemns Murder of Environmental Commentator in the Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins with affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the murder of radio anchor Gerardo Ortega, a commentator with dwAR, in the country’s far-western island province Palawan on January 24.

Ortega was shot in the head at around 10 am as he was shopping in the San Pedro district of Puerto Princesa City, the capital of Palawan province. He is the 142nd media worker to be killed since the end of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986 and the second to be killed during the administration of current president Benigno Aquino III.

Police apprehended Manila resident Marvin Alcaraz with a weapon near the scene of the crime shortly after the shooting. Alcaraz reportedly claimed to only have intended to rob Ortega. It is not yet known whether Ortega’s murder was related to his work as a radio anchor.

Ortega, a former gubernatorial candidate, was a vocal critic of the province’s governor and had publicly campaigned against mining operations in Palawan. He also headed an ecotourism project in the province supported by the charitable arm of broadcaster ABS-CBN.

“Ortega’s murder is a reminder that the Philippines is still among the world’s most dangerous countries for media workers,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

“His death, like those of all his colleagues before him, must not go unpunished by authorities in the Philippines.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

The IFJ represents 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ Asia-Pacific on Facebook here



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