December 17, 2018

Press Freedom

Philippines

Philippines January 18, 2006

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President
Malacanang Palace
Manila
Republic of the Philippines
Fax: (011.63.2) 735-6152
 

Your Excellency:
 

With great sadness, the Overseas Press Club of America finds it necessary to write to you again regarding murders and persecution of working journalists in the Philippines.
 

Our organization, whose 600 members are professional journalists, has written to you previously on this subject, yet the killings seem to go on. In protesting these conditions, we join hands with other journalism organizations including: The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility ( Manila ), and the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines. The specific events we are protesting are these:
 

•  The murder in early December in Cabuyao, Laguna Province , of Robert Ramos, a reporter for the weekly tabloid, Katapat.
 

•  The murder a few days later of Ricard “Ding” Uy, in Sorsogon City. Mr. Uy was known for his criticisms of the army in his radio broadcasts for DZRS-AM. He was also president of the Media Reporters Association.
 

•  The murder, also in December, of radio reporter, George Benaojan, apparently by professional killers in Talisay City, Cebu Island. Mr Benaojan hosted a weekly program on local Bantay Radio in which he criticized local officials, including customs agents, for alleged corruption.
 

•  We are also disturbed by reports that the terrorist group, Abu Sayyaz (ASG), has sent threatening letters to prominent personalities in Zamboanga City — including several members of the local media.
 

To be sure, our organization derived some comfort from the imposition of a life sentence on Guillermo Wapile for killing radio journalist, Edgar Damalerio, in 2002; also from the Supreme Court decision to move the murder trial of those accused in the murder of columnist, Marlene Esperat-Garcia, from Tacurong, Mindanao, to another jurisdiction where the suspects are less influential.
 

Nonetheless, the continuing killings and attacks on working journalists in the Philippines are very disturbing to members of our profession. As you no doubt know, the Philippines is considered the most murderous country in the world for jounalists to work. We applaud your creation of a special task force to investigate the killings of journalists. Still, we urge your government to make stronger efforts to bring the killers to justice and end this nightmare for members of our profession.
 

Respectfully yours,
George Bookman
Norman Schorr
Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

Ignacio R. Bunye

Office of the Press Secretary

Arlegui Guest House

Malacanang Palace Compound

Manila

Republic of the Philippines

 

Albert del Rosario

Ambassador of the Philippines to the U.S.A.

Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines

1600 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington , DC 20036

Fax: (202) 467-9417

 

Ambassador Lauro L. Baja, Jr.

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines

to the United Nations

556 Fifth Avenue

New York , NY 10036

Fax: (212) 840-8602

 

Paul Jones

Deputy Chief of Mission

Embassy of the United States of America

1201 Roxas Boulevard

Manila

Philippines

Fax: (011.63.2) 522-4361

 

The Editor

Manila Times

E-mail: Newsboy1@manilatimes.net

 

The Editor

Quatorce Cebu Daily News

E-mail: joeyalarilla@gmail.com