Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned to learn of death threats issued
against a radio broadcaster and office bearer of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
(NUJP) in Cotabato City, Mindanao, in the southern Philippines.
Vern Simon, 42, vice chair of the NUJP’s Cotabato
City chapter and a
reporter at radio station dxMS, owned by the Notre Dame Broadcasting
Corporation, said the threats were relayed to him by friends, reported IFJ
affiliate the NUJP.
Simon, who anchors a daily editorial program Punto't Opinyon, told the NUJP he had heard of threats since May 16, but only
took them seriously when the threats were confirmed by friends in the military
and police intelligence community. The source of the threats is unknown.
Simon was alerted to the latest
threat on June 1, when several men arrived at the dxMS office looking for Simon,
introduced themselves as members of the intelligence unit of the Marine Battalion
Landing Team (MLBT) and said that Simon had been threatened.
Simon later called MBLT-7 Commanding
Officer Doroteo Jose Jalandoni, who confirmed that his unit has received word
that there was an imminent threat to kill Simon. Jalandoni promised to provide Simon
with full security.
Cotabato City councillor Willy Bueno
also alerted Simon he had received similar information from his “sources”.Simon has not received a direct threat as yet.
Edwin Fernandez, dxMS station
manager, said the station’s management had put in place safety measures in
response to the threats and instructed other reporters on safety precautions.
Fernandez said threats against local
journalists were not uncommon, and Cotabato
City was known as a haven
“The IFJ is extremely concerned for
the safety of journalist and union official Vern Simon,” IFJ
Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“The rapid response to the threats by
the authorities and Simon’s employer is to be applauded – this quick action discourages
those who make these cowardly threats to journalists and media workers.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
IFJ on Facebook here