New envoy joins EU, watchdogs in airing concerns
NEW US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg has expressed concern over the killing of three broadcasters in the Philippines in a span of just two weeks.
“I am deeply concerned, saddened by the third slaying of a Philippine journalist in just two weeks,” Goldberg said Wednesday night.
“The US supports press freedom and human rights.
The Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines on Friday also expressed concern over the latest attacks on journalists here.
The Delegation urged the authorities to take immediate action to bring to justice all those responsible for the latest killings.
The group Reporters Without Borders said it was “deeply shocked” to learn about the killings.
“Only a firm response from the authorities will deter others from targeting news providers, the group said.
On Thursday, Human Rights Watch spokesman Carlos Conde and other journalists slammed the Aquino administration for paying lip service to the protection of people in the media following the murder of three broadcasters in a span of just two weeks, with their killers getting away scot-free.
Motorcycle-riding gunmen attacked broadcaster Rogelio Butalid, 44, in Tagum City in Mindanao on Dec. 11. The day before, unidentified gunmen
on a motorcycle shot and wounded Jhonavin Villalba, a reporter for Aksyon Radyo, at his home in Iloilo City.
On Dec. 6, unidentified gunmen shot dead Michael Milo, a commentator on DXFM in Tandag City. The week before, on Nov. 29, broadcaster Joash Dignos was gunned down in Valencia City.
Conde said the murder of the three broadcasters had raised to 12 the number of journalists killed so far in 2013, and that some 26 journalists had been killed in the first 40 months of the Aquino ad-ministration, with no one being prosecuted.
“The Aquino administration’s response [to the killings] has been discouraging,” Conde said in a statement.
“While officials say the government is committed to ending impunity for these attacks, they have nevertheless sought to downplay them.”
On Friday, the Publishers Association of the Philippines said the violence against journalists in the country was alarming.
The group condemned the violence that it said threatened civil liberties and virtually amounted to a war against freedom of information and media in the country.
National Police Chief Alan Purisima said Friday he saw no “common pattern” in the latest killings.
“At this early stage of the investigation, there are no peculiar indications of a link that can connect the three incidents,” Purisima said.
The Police Special Investigation Task Group “Butalid” on Friday released a computerized facial composite of the gunman who shot and killed broadcaster Rogelio Butalid in Tagum City.
Davao del Norte Police Chief Samuel Gadingan said the composite was generated based on the descriptions provided by a witness to the shooting. With Florante S. Solmerin and Francisco Tuyay