With PNoy’s apathy towards killings, the bloodshed continues

Joas Dignos (Valencia, Bukidnon, November 29). Michael Milo (Tandag, Surigao del Sur, December 7). Rogelio Butalid (Tagum City, Davao del Norte, December 11). Three broadcasters murdered in Mindanao within two weeks. The 19th, 20th and 21st since Pres Benigno Aquino III came to office and the 159th, 160th and 161st since we became a “demoracy” again, a claim that becomes more tenuous with each media killing.

 

But no, this government, which came to power on the promise of justice and human rights and “daang matuwid” (a straight path) chooses not only to downplay the enormity of the problem but denigrates the victims by deigning to dismiss some of them as “not legitimate.”

 

Mr. Aquino, time and again you have made media your whipping boy, chastising is for “negativism.”

But we are dying here, your government’s inaction perpetuating the impunity with which not just we but so many others – activists, environmentalists, lawyers, indigenous people, the religious–continue to be murdered while your administration turns a blind eye and a cold heart to the bloodshed.

It is all too clear to use that your promises are meaningless.

 

You, by your apathy, are just as guilty as those who gave the orders to kill and those who pulled the trigger.

 

Our colleagues’ blood, as all the victims’ blood, shall ever stain your hands.

And we will make sure you do not forget that and will call you to account.

FOR REFERENCE
Rowena Paraan
Chairperson

 

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Three killings and an attempted murder || Four journalists shot in two weeks

 

Two radio broadcasters were shot in separate incidents in cities of Tagum and Iloilo between last night (Dec. 10) and this morning (Dec. 11). One of them died on the spot, making him the third journalist murdered in a span of two weeks.

 

Minutes after his final broadcast, unidentified gunmen shot and killed Rogelio “Tata” Butalid, 46, blocktime commentator at Radyo Natin Tagum, right outside the station’s studios at Sobrecary St. in the city Wednesday morning.

 

Investigators said at around 9:00 am, Butalid was about to ride his motorcycle when the assailants fired shots at him. He sustained seven gunshot wounds.

 

Butalid, also a councilor of Bgy. (village) Mankilam, has been working for community radio since his college days. Before the killing, his commentaries have reportedly focused on electric power issues in Davao del Norte province (http://davaotoday.com/main/2013/12/11/breaking-news-another-journalist-shot-dead-in-tagum-city/).

Late last night (Dec. 10), unidentified assailants shot and wounded radio reporter Jhonavin Villalba, 43, of dyOK Aksyon Radyo Iloilo.

 

Villalba was opening the gate of his home in Bgy. Cuartero when two men aboard a motorcycle fired shots at him, according to the Iloilo chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

 

The Iloilo-based commentator sustained gunshot wounds in his toe and ankle, and was immediately rushed to Iloilo Mission Hospital for treatment.

 

Investigators found spent shells of 9-millimeter calibre at the crime scene.

 

Butalid and Villalba are the third and fourth journalists attacked in shooting incidents during the past two weeks. Three of these four, including Villalba, died.

 

Last Friday (Dec. 6), Prime FM National Supervisor and program director Michael Milo was shot dead, also by unidentified gunmen, in Tandag City.

 

Milo was driving along Bgy. Mabua when the motorcycle gunmen riding suspects riddled him with bullets.

The NUJP Media Safety Office in Mindanao is currently investigating if Milo’s killing is work-related.

A week earlier, on Nov. 29, Bukidnon-based commentator Joas Dignos was shot dead in Valencia City. The motive appears to be work-related.

 

If also proven work-related, Bulid and Milo would be the 159th and 160th journalists killed in the line of duty since 1986.

 

So far, NUJP has recorded 19 work-related media murders, an average of six per year under Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s watch.

 

For reference
JB Deveza
Coordinator, NUJP Mindanao Safety Office

Rupert Mangilit
Coordinator, NUJP Media Safety Office
Sec. General, NUJP

Rowena Paraan
Chairperson, NUJP
Exec. Coordinator, NUJP Media Safety Office