International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) is greatly concerned by reports of early violence against
media personnel as the Philippines
national elections begin today.
Gono, radio stringer and writer for the weekly Azilam Review in Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao,
went missing on May 9, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
(NUJP), an IFJ affiliate.
colleague and Hot FM 106.3 radio reporter, Rene Abris,told the NUJP that he received a message from Gono asking for
help after being accosted by a group of unknown people.
whereabouts remain unknown.
Abris and Gono reportedly went to
Catarman police station yesterday to report an assault on Herbert Hugo
Dumaguing and his son, Hubert, who both work for Cagayan de Oro cable station
TV13. The two were reportedly beaten on their heads and threatened with guns by
Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo and several men after they saw some local
officials allegedly distributing envelopes to Catarman residents.
A camera and other possessions belonging
to the journalists were seized by the attackers.
The Dumaguings and Abris are now
under the protection of Catarman police, who have reportedly arrested one man. Police
also reportedly met with Governor Romualdo.
Meanwhile, Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent
Orlando Dinoy reportedly received a death threat on May 8 from Bansalan mayor
Edwin Reyes, a candidate for the Nacionalista Party in Davao del Sur
province in the southern Philippines.
Dinoy told the NUJP the mayor targeted him for his coverage of the campaign
of a rival candidate, incumbent Bansalan vice-mayor Melchor Arches, who is a Nationalist People’s Coalition candidate. Dinoy said
Reyes also blamed him for allegedly spreading defamatory propaganda used in the
campaigns of his political rivals.
Reyes reportedly told Dinoy he would
arrange for the journalist to be killed after the elections.
“The IFJ again calls on all
candidates standing for election today to publicly commit to ending the culture
of impunity for attacks against journalists in the Philippines, where 137 journalists
have been killed for their work since 1986. Of these, 100 have been killed
during the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,” IFJ
Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“With politically motivated violence
in recent days including the disappearance of one journalist, the bashing of
two, and threats against another, the need for a response is urgent.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide