Filipino journalist gunned down in Manilla

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the brutal murder of a local journalist in Manila on Friday, May 27, 2016. The IFJ and NUJP call on the authorities to track down and find those responsible as an urgent priority.Alex Balcoba, a 56-year-old reporter for the People’s Brigada and officer of the Manilla Police District Press Corp, was shot dead outside a watch repair shop owned by his family in Manilla. According to reports, the gunmen walked towards Balcoba and shot him in the head before fleeing on a waiting motorcycle. Balcoba was rushed to a local hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.Balcoba was a veteran journalist, who had covered the local crime and police beat since the 1990s. According to IFJ figures, he is the second journalist to be killed this year, and the 42nd journalist killed under the out-going President Benigno Aquino’s six-year presidency. The NUJP said Aquino’s presidency has been the deadliest period for journalists in the Philippines’ history.The NUJP chairperson, Ryan Rosauro said: “Whether or not Balcoba’s murder is related to his work as a journalist, we demand that authorities act quickly to catch his killers and bring them to justice. Our country has suffered too long from the impunity with which murder continues to be committed. At this early stage, we urge the incoming administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to ensure an end to the extrajudicial murders that have plagued our blood-soaked land and pledge to uphold our people’s basic rights, particularly freedom of the press and of expression.”IFJ general secretary, Anthony Bellanger said: “The IFJ demands immediate action from the Philippines authorities, and calls on the newly elected Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte to end the culture of impunity in the Philippines and ensure his presidency is not as deadly as his predecessor’s.”The IFJ expresses condolences to Balcoba’s family, friends and colleagues.

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