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Philippines September 8, 2006
H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Republic of the Philippines
Fax: (011.63.2) 735-6152
The Overseas Press Club of America, an independent organization of international journalists founded in 1939, is horrified by the un-ending murders of journalists in your country. It is appalling that since late May, five more journalists have been brutally shot down by unknown assailants who have escaped capture.
On May 23rd, Madame President, one day after the murder of Fernando Batul, who was gunned down on his way to work at radio DZRH in Puerto Princessa on Mindanao island, you demanded at your cabinet meeting that the killings of journalists must be stopped. This laudable order has had no effect.
On June 20, Mr. George Vigo and his wife, Mazel, both journalists though working in different media, were shot down my two motocyclists who escaped. Mr. Vigo worked for UCAN, the Union of Catholic News Agency, and his wife, Mazel, worked at DXND.
On July 18, Armando Pace was shot down driving home from work in the city of Digos on Mindanao .
Mr. Pace was known for his criticism on radio DXDS of local politicians and drug dealings.
On July 31, Vic Melendrez was murdered outside his house in Manila , shot multiple times.
Mr. Pace was a photographer for TWEED . As usual in these killings, it was declared that there was no evidence of a connection between his work and the crime. No capture was made.
Madame President, we grieve for our colleagues, as you do. All the world has heard of these murders now, and the Philippines is now considered the most dangerous country for journalists, outside of a war zone. The reputation of your country is tarnished, and we urge you to enforce your order to mobilize action to end this infamous situation.
We are hoping most sincerely, Madame President, that you will grant us the honor and the respect of a reply.
Freedom of the Press Committee
Ignacio R. Buny
Office of the Press Secretary
Arlegui Guest House
Malacanang Palace Compound
Republic of the Philippines
Ambassador of the Philippines to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines
1600 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington , DC 20035
Fax: (202) 328-7614
Ambassador Lauro L. Baja, Jr.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines
to the United Nations
556 Fifth Avenue
New York , NY 10036
Fax: (212) 840-8602
Kristie A. Kenney
U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines
Embassy of the United States of America
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Fax: (011.63.2) 522- 4361
Quatorce Cebu Daily News
E-mail: joey email@example.com