The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urgently
calls on authorities in the Philippines
to act immediately to fully investigate threats made against staff working at a
safety office in the southern Philippines
run by an IFJ affiliate.
“The IFJ demands the
Government of the Philippines ensure local authorities in Mindanao investigate
the source of vicious threats made against staff of the National
Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and take prompt steps to ensure they do not
come to harm,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park said.
Two threatening messages
were sent last week to staff of the NUJP
Mindanao Safety Office in Cagayan de Oro, which is supported by IFJ Asia-Pacific.
The NUJP reported the messages were received via
email from Alfred Leron. The first message was sent on October 7, the second on
October 9. The emails threaten physical harm if staff member Jigger Jerusalem
does not leave Cagayan de Oro.
Jerusalem is also a freelance
reporter and writes for the local Mindanao
Gold Star Daily, the national Philippine
Star and Ucan News. He
has worked for the safety office since June.
Jerusalem said that while he did
not know an Alfred Leron, or the reason for the threat, he has reported on some
He wrote news reports about
Herbert Dumaguing and three other journalists whose reporting on national elections
in Camiguin in May resulted in them being assaulted, allegedly by supporters of
Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo.
In August 2009, he also wrote
about the case of an American expatriate and his Filipino wife whose fishing
boat was illegally seized and destroyed by the combined forces of the Philippines
Navy and some city government personnel of Gingoog, northern Mindanao.
The messages to Jerusalem threaten physical
harm and note his home address. “If
you value your life, I don't want to see your face here in Cagayan,” the first
threat reads. “Choose, brod, which part of your body, hands or feet, you want
cut off. You don't know who you are up against, so better stop . . . Start
counting the days beginning today.”
The second threat echoed
the sentiments. “Regret always comes
at the end. Think of the others. Have you counted the days yet? Don't wait for
that time to come. It’s up to you to decide if you want to wait for something
The IFJ is extremely
concerned for the welfare of Jigger, whose work at the safety office supports
defending Mindanao media personnel against
threats and attacks.
The safety office began operations
in April to monitor violations of media rights in Mindanao,
where the rising number of attacks and murders of media personnel includes the murder
of 32 journalists and media workers among at least 57 people massacred in Maguindanao
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific