Massacre Survivor Reports Intimidation In Southern Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned

for the safety of a journalist who narrowly escaped the massacre of at least 57 people in Mindanao

in the southern Philippines

last November, after he reported being watched and photographed by unidentified



The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

(NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, reported

that Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent Aquiles Zonio told colleagues he saw two unidentified men loitering

and taking photographs outside his home in General Santos City, Mindanao, for

three successive days from October 24.


“The IFJ is deeply worried that any

journalist should feel intimidated, and notes particular concern for Zonio’s welfare

and all media personnel working in Mindanao after the atrocity in Maguindanao, Mindanao, last year,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Director Jacqueline Park said.


Zonio reported in a text message: “Last

Sunday, two men riding on a motorcycle stopped in front of our house at around

5pm and looked like they were taking pictures of me while I was doing the

laundry. Then last night (Monday) at around 9pm, then again tonight (Tuesday)

at 8pm.”


Zonio was one of three media

personnel who opted not to join a convoy of media and other vehicles before it was

ambushed in Maguindanao last November. At least 57 people, including 32

journalists and media workers, were murdered in the massacre that followed.


Zonio said the unidentified men’s

threatening behaviour may be due to his reporting on illegal mining and logging

activities, or the massacre.


Several journalists in central Mindanao have received threats due to their coverage of

the massacre, which will be commemorated in national and international events

to mark the one-year anniversary this November 23.


The prime suspect, Andal Ampatuan

Jr, is charged with multiple counts of murder, along with 195 other

suspects who are mostly police officers and militia men.


The Philippines is one of the most

dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with the NUJP reporting 140 media workers killed since 1986.


* The IFJ refers to at

least 57 people killed in the Ampatuan Town massacre, in the belief that 58

people were killed. The body of Reynaldo "Bebot" Momay was never found. However,

the IFJ believes he was killed. The legal proceedings against the accused refer

to 57 counts of murder, on the evidence of the number of bodies recovered.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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