The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, has expressed dismay over the recent spate of violence directed towards journalists in the Philippines, resulting in two journalists murdered in four days and a total of ten journalists killed in the Philippines during 2004.
“The Government of the Philippines can no longer stand by and let these journalists be slaughtered in record numbers,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren.
“Things are going from bad to worse: the Government needs to act immediately to stop the killings,” Warren said.
“We fully support our colleagues in the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in their protest marches throughout the Philippines in the coming days,” said the IFJ.
On Saturday, 13 November Heherson Hinolan, better known by his radio name as Bombo Boy, station manager and anchor of DYIN Bombo Radyo in Kalibo, Aklan, was shot by unidentified assailants at 11pm. Hinolan died from wounds sustained from the shooting in hospital on Monday, 15 November. It is believed that Hinolan was targeted for his hard-hitting commentaries as his companions were left alone. Hinolan was the tenth journalist killed in the Philippines in 2004.
On Friday, 12 November, Gene Boyd Lumawag, photo editor with the independent news service Mindanews, was shot dead while working on a story in the Islamic militant stronghold of Jolo island in the southern Philippines. The Western Mindanao police have set up a Lumawag task force to investigate the murder and have put forward the Abu Sayyaf group as a possible suspect in connection to the murder
In addition to these two deaths, on Saturday, 13 November, an unidentified group strafed the car of Eric Tenerife, presenter for Progress Channel in Bacolod City. Tenerife was not hurt but his car retained heavy damage. Tenerife claims the shooting was connected with commentaries he had made against the owner of a recruitment agency.
On Saturday, 13 November, Michael Pillorin, photojournalist with Summit Media, was shot in the forehead by a man believed to be a thrill seeker who fired at motorists in a gasoline station at Congressional and Mindanao Avenues in Quezon City. Police are still investigating possible motives in connection with the attack but initial reports suggest the gunmen fired his gun without targeting anyone in particular. Police have arrested no suspects in connection with the murder.
These latest attacks follow threats received by Paul Palacio, ABS-CBN reporter and his cameraman, Loloy Cagayan. The military allegedly threatened the two journalists with bursts of gunfire while they were investigating reports of illegal toll fee collection near the headquarters of the 6th infantry Battalion in Datu odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.
The IFJ has reiterated its calls for the Philippines Government to take concrete measures to ensure that those responsible for the attacks are brought to justice.
The IFJ is calling on support from all its affiliates to send letters of protest to the Philippines Government and letters of support to the IFJ affiliate in the Philippines.
For further information contact Christopher Warren on: +61 411 757 668
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries