IFJ Condemns Ongoing Violence Against Journalists in the Philippines

In a letter to the President of Philippines, the International Federation of Journalists has voiced its deep concerns over the continuing violent attacks against media workers in the Philippines.

The IFJ has strongly urged the Government of the Philippines to launch a full investigation into the murder of Noel Villarante and to ensure the safety of all journalists and media workers in the Philippines.


The IFJ has protested to the Government of the Philippines in the following letter:



26 August 2003


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Malacanang Palace

Republic of the Philippines

Via email: president@gov.ph


Dear President,


The International Federation of Journalists, the global organisation of journalists, representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is gravely concerned about the ongoing murders and threats against media workers in the Philippines.


According to our information, journalist Noel Villarante was gunned down in Santa Cruz, Laguna province on 19 August 2003. It is suspected that Mr Villarante was targeted for his work criticising illegal gambling and critical of politicians suspected of pandering to drug lords.


Villarante is the fourth journalist to be murdered in the Philippines this year: his death is preceded by the deaths of Tarlac-based, Bonifacio Gregorio; Lucena broadcaster Apolinario Pobeda of dwTI-AM, and John Villanueva Jr, an announcer for Legazpi City’s radio dzGB.


These deaths follow the murder of journalist and broadcaster Mr Sonny Alcantara in August 2002 and the death of broadcaster and editor Mr Edgar Damalerio in May 2002. We understand that Villarante is the 41st media worker to be murdered in the Philippines since 1986.


We are also deeply concerned about the death threats received by Tempo and Manila Bulletin correspondent Jeama E Sabate. According to our information, Sabate received a faxed death threat days after the murder of Villarante and we understand the threat was in response to articles she had written critical of some prominent lawyers.


We have written to you numerous times about murders and other attacks on journalists and media workers in the Philippines.


It is unacceptable that media workers continue to lose their lives for their work in the Philippines. Your Government needs to act to ensure that this climate of persecution and retribution against media is dismantled and replaced with a climate of tolerance and press freedom.


We again call on your Government to launch full investigations to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice. Further, we call on you to ensure that journalists and media workers in the Philippines can carry out their work without fear or persecution, and in a climate of safety and press freedom.


Yours sincerely,



Christopher Warren

President, IFJ


cc. Jose D Lina

Interior and Local Government Minister

Via email: opnet@ops.gov.ph



Recommended action:


Send appeals:

  • Expressing deep concern over the murder of Noel Villarante and the death threat against Jeama E Sabate.

  • Urging the government of the Philippines to launch a full investigation into these attacks ensure that the people responsible are brought to justice.

  • Urging the government of the Philippines to ensure press freedom and safety of all journalists in the Philippines.


  • Appeals:


    President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

    Malacanang Palace

    Republic of the Philippines

    Via email: president@gov.ph


    Jose D Lina

    Interior and Local Government Minister

    Via email: opnet@ops.gov.ph


    Please copy appeals to the IFJ Asia Office at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au


    For more information contact Jacqui Park at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au