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Broadcaster shot dead

(IFJ/IFEX) - October 19, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the murder of radio commentator Datu Roy Bagtikan Gallego in Lianga town, Surigao del Sur province in the southern Philippines on October 14.

Gallego, also a Datu, or chieftain, of the Manobo tribe and president of the Bayanihan Council of Datus (BACODA) Caraga Region, was shot dead in an ambush on the national highway in Sitio Mamprasanon, Barangay Banahaw in Lianga town.

Gallego often criticised mining operations and spoke in defence of tribal rights in broadcasts with radio stations based in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur province, which borders Surigao del Sur. Lianga Police have not yet identified any suspects or a motive for the murder.

He was due this week to start a new block-time program with 92.7 Smile FM San Francisco, and in 2010 hosted a similar program on DxSF San Francisco Radio. A block-time program is a paid timeslot whose hosts are usually employed by the buyer or producer of the timeslot.

"The IFJ urges the government of the Philippines to enact laws consistent with the demands of our Action Plan to end impunity in order to prevent further attacks of this nature," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"We call upon authorities to ensure this murder is not met with impunity, regardless of the motive."

Gallego's death comes just seven days after the murder of broadcaster Johnson Pascual, who was shot dead in Isabela province in the northern Philippines on October 7.

If his murder is related to his work as a journalist, Gallego will be the seventh media worker to have been murdered under the current administration of President Benigno Aquino III, and the 148th since the end of military rule in 1986.
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