BY Asia Radio Today

Philippines: Two radio broadcasters killed in two days

Two radio broadcasters were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in separate attacks in Mindanao, southern Philippines, on Sunday and early morning Monday.

The victims were Rudy Alicaway in Molave, Zamboanga del Sur and Leonardo Diaz in President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat Province.

The killings come just a week after another radio presenter, Julito "Paka-paka" Orillaneda, owner and operator of DXJB FM, was attacked by unknown assailants in Surigao Del Sur.

Alicway, 46, anchored a weekly Sunday entertainment show Tigmo Tigmo (Riddle) on dxPB 106.9 and was also a councilman of Barangay Miligan in Molave municipality.

He was on his way back home after hosting his show, when he was attacked by motorcycle riding gunmen, who repeatedly shot at him. According to witnesses, Alicaway fell from his bike and tried to crawl away, but the suspects followed him shot him again twice to make sure he was dead.

Diaz, 60, was a volunteer reporter of Radio Mindanao Network-Cotabato and also a columnist for Sapol newspaper.

A former policeman, he had covered stories on political corruption, illegal gambling and drugs.

He was driving a motorcycle with his son and nephew when he was shot and killed by a suspect on another motorbike.

If work-related, these murders will raise the number of Filipino reporters killed in the line of duty since 1986 to 177, according to a statement from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

The NUJP has condemned the murders and has called for an immediate investigation demanding the identification, arrest and prosecution of those involved.

"This again highlights the culture of impunity, in the attacks against and killings of Filipino journalists that have remained unabated despite an international outcry," the NUJP said.

The killings happened even as the whole Mindanao region, where Islamic militants, communist guerrillas and political warlords are active, is under martial law imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte till the end of 2017.

Duterte, who was elected last year, has lashed out at journalists over critical coverage of his anti-drug war that has claimed thousands of lives.

"Just because you're a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you're a son of a bitch," he had said shortly before taking office.

The Philippines ranks fourth on Committee to Protect Jounalists’ (CPJ) Impunity Index, a global measure of countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free.

More journalists have been killed in direct relation to their work in the Philippines than anywhere apart from Iraq and Syria since CPJ began keeping detailed records in 1992.

“Until President Rodrigo Duterte shows he is serious about protecting journalists, these types of brazen killings will continue in an unbroken cycle of impunity,” Shawn Crispin, the Southeast Asia representative for CPJ, said in a statement issued on Monday.

Another study by the International Federation of Journalists last year said that 146 journalists were killed between 1990 and 2015 in Philippines, making it the second most dangerous country for the media after Iraq.