Police Safely Escort Journalists Amid Philippines Election Violence

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is relieved to learn that seven journalists

caught up in election-related violence on Camiguin

Island in the southern Philippines were escorted safely by police to

their offices in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao,

today.

 

Among the group was Rolando Bruno,

formally identified as Rolando Gono, who was reported missing on May 9 after

sending a text message to a colleague requesting help.

 

Concerns were raised after Bruno, an

Azilam Review writer and volunteer

reporter for Hot FM 106.3, disappeared shortly after complaining to police

about an attack that day on Herbert Hugo and his son, Hubert Dumaguis, who both

work for TV 13. The attack was reportedly carried out by Camiguin Governor

Jurdin Jesus “JJ” Romualdo and his supporters, a day before the Philippines

national elections on May 10.

 

The Mindanao Safety Office of the National Union of

Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)

confirmed that Bruno had gone into hiding after being accosted by unidentified

men while travelling to visit his sick child.

 

The office also reported that other

media personnel escorted back to Cagayan de Oro by the police included Hugo and

Dumaguis, along with Rene Abris, a reporter for Hot FM 106.3 and Azilam Review;  Alvin Lovino and Altin Cabanog, of TV 13; and Jinggoy

Abanil, of the Gold Star Daily.

 

“The safe return of the seven

journalists to their homes is a relief. But the need for a police escort and protection

is a sharp reminder of the dangers confronting local media personnel amid tense

times in the Philippines,”

IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline

Park said.

 

“The Philippines

is one of the most lethal countries in the world for practising journalists,

and the IFJ urges the newly elected Philippines leadership to

immediately confront and end the country’s long and abhorrent culture of

impunity for the killings of journalists and media workers.”  

 

Since the end of the dictatorship of

Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, 137 journalists and media personnel have been killed as

a result of conducting their profession. According to the NUJP Of these, 100 were

killed during the administration of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.


The IFJ commends the actions of its local affiliate, the NUJP,

in taking swift action to ensure the safety of the seven journalists, and joins

the union in urging the Electoral Commission, local governments and the

Commission on Human Rights in the Philippines to conduct a swift and

impartial investigation into all attacks on media personnel during the election

campaign.

 

The election campaigning opened horrifically,

with the massacre of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, in

Maguindanao, Mindanao, last November 23.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide