Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked to learn that two radio show hosts, Rogelio “Tata” Estrada Butalid of Radyo Natin and Michael Diaz Milo of DXFM Radio, have been murdered in the past six days in the Philippines. Both were based on the southern island of Mindanao.
“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and colleagues of the victims,” Reporters Without Borders said. “In the face of all this violence against journalists, we urge the police to deploy whatever means are necessary to arrest those responsible and end the unacceptable impunity. Only a firm response from the authorities will deter others from targeting news providers.
“Benigno Aquino’s presidency is in the process of becoming the second deadliest ever for the Philippines’ journalists. Aside from his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, no other president in the past 30 years has allowed the current level of impunity, not even his mother, Corazon Aquino. By failing to react, his government is directly responsible for this sad record.”
Butalid was gunned down today outside Radyo Natin in Tagum City as he was leaving the station to go home after his show. Two men on a motorcycle pulled up beside him and opened fire. Witnesses said they shot six times.
Police inspector Jed Clamor said Butalid’s murder could be linked to his work as a journalist because he covered local issues including corruption in his programme and may have made enemies. But Clamor added that it could also be linked to his political activities. A radio journalist since the age of 17, Butalid was in his third term as a town councillor in the municipality of Barangay.
Milo, 34, was gunned down on 6 December in Tandag City, where he hosted a programme about alternative medicine and local problems on DXFM Radio. He also edited the newspaper Prime Balista and was national supervisor of Prime FM 99.1. He was driving his motorcycle when two individuals on another motorcycle shot him in the head and drove away. He died while being rushed to hospital.
The police have not identified a motive, but the manager of DXFM Radio said Milo had reported receiving death threats without saying where they came from.
Butalid was the third journalist to be killed in the Philippines in less than two weeks, the first being radio journalist Joash Dignos, who was gunned down on 29 November in Valencia City, also on the island of Mindanao.
The Philippines is ranked 140th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.