IFJ Demands Investigation Into Threats Against Safety Office Staff in Philippines


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

sensitive stories.


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

to happen.” 


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

last November.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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