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Reporter and cameraman Harold Feliciano receives death threat

(CMFR/IFEX) - On 10 February 2009, an unidentified man threatened to kill Harold Feliciano, a television reporter, in Roxaz City, Capiz. Capiz is a province located approximately 411 km from Manila.

Feliciano, a reporter and cameraman for local television company Filvision ALTO Cable TV, was on his motorcycle with his 5-year-old son when a motorcyclist in a ski mask swerved to their side and threatened to kill him within 24 hours. Feliciano had just fetched his son from school.

Feliciano works for Filvision's public affairs program "Abri-Aga" (Appetizer in the Morning). In a phone interview, Feliciano told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) that he tried to catch up with the unidentified man but then decided to go home because he feared for the life of his son. He reported the incident to the police afterward.

"His head was covered by a bonnet (sic) up to the nose, but I could see his moustache and beard. He had long hair. His motorcycle was black with shades of orange and had no plate number," Feliciano told the local newspaper "News Today" on 17 February.

CMFR tried to talk to the police officer assigned to the desk when the incident happened but Senior Police Officer Rei Jesus Lariosa of the Roxas City Police Station said in a phone interview on 20 February that the officer who investigated Feliciano's case was not available since they often change (vs. shifts. Lariosa said that Feliciano allegedly told him days after the incident that he could not tell what the motive behind the threat was.

"It might have been addressed indirectly to my boss (John Heredia, host and executive producer of "Abri-Aga")," Feliciano told CMFR in a 20 February phone interview.

Feliciano said in the "News Today" report: "I believe that the harassment stemmed back (sic) from the issues we tackle in our program, especially issues on mining and corruption in the government."

Feliciano also said other staff members of "Abri-Aga" had been receiving threats via their mobile phones since 2008.

In a phone interview with CMFR, Heredia said the officers of the local chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) have also received threats in connection with their campaign against killings of journalists. Heredia is a member of the NUJP national directorate.

Among the cases being monitored by NUJP is that of Martin Roxas, a media practitioner also from Roxaz City. Roxas, program director of dyVR-Radio Mindanao Network, was killed on 7 August 2008 by a gunman riding tandem on a motorcycle. He was the fourth journalist/media practitioner killed in the line of duty last year. Six journalists were killed in the line of duty in 2008.

CMFR has recorded 77 journalists killed since 1986. Thirty-nine journalists/media practitioners have been killed in the Philippines during President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's term.

For further information on the Roxas case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/95964

For further information, contact Melinda Quintos de Jesus, Melanie Pinlac or Edsel Dura, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), 2nd Floor, Ateneo Professional Schools, 130 H.V. dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati City 1227, Metro Manila, Philippines, tel: +632 840 0903, +632 894 1314/1326, tel/fax: +632 840 0889, e-mail: [email protected], Internet: http://www.cmfr-phil.org/

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