Philippines: Journalist murdered by motorcycle killers

Journalist Jobert “Polpog” Bercasio was shot dead as he was riding a scooter in Sorgoson City, Sorgoson, Luzon on the evening of September 14. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the killing and calls on the authorities to conduct a swift investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Jobert “Polpog” Bercasio. Credit: Facebook

Bercasio, a former radio reporter who ran his own Balangibog TV channel on social media, was killed by two gunmen riding in tandem on a motorcycle. The police found empty casings of an M16 rifle at the crime scene. According to Sorsogon City Police Chief Supt. Benito Dipad, Bercasio died on the spot. 

Bercasio hosted a program broadcast via Facebook live and commented on social issues, including illegal logging. He has been described as a “hard-hitting” commentator. An hour before the killing, Bercasio wrote on his personal Facebook page about the irregular movement of trucks from a “quarry area” in Bulan town.

According to NUJP, Bercasio is the 17th journalist killed under President Rodrigo Duterte's rule and the 189th since 1986. This year, he is the second journalist killed, after radio host Cornelio “Rex Cornelio” Pepino was gunned down by two men on separate motorcycles in Dumaguete City on May 5, just days after World Press Freedom Day.

NUJP said: “NUJP stresses again that we see no official government policy at work in the continuing murder of journalists and other attacks on the press. But the general disinterest, apathy even, in solving and, just as important, bringing an end to media killings and the harassment of journalists have served to embolden those who seek to silence those in the profession of truth.”

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: The IFJ condemns the murder of Bercasio and calls on the authorities to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. Amid the continued violence against journalists in the Philippines, it is vital the authorities take urgent steps to ensure journalists can operate freely and safely.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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