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Volunteer reporter survives attack by gunmen

(CMFR/IFEX) - Local police have formed a task force to look into the possible motives behind the attempted murder of a volunteer reporter for DwEB radio station in Nabua, Camarines Sur province, on 9 July 2010.

Miguel "Mike" Belen survived seven bullet wounds inflicted by unidentified gunmen as he was on his way home. According to radio reporter Cynthia del Valle, police said that Belen was taking a shortcut through San Jose village, Nabua, when two men riding tandem on a motorcycle shot him.

On 13 July, DwEB station manager Richard Arnedo told CMFR that Belen was on his way back from covering the last draw of the government's Small Town Lottery (STL).

Del Valle, of radio station Hot FM, told CMFR that one possible angle is that the attack may have something to do with Belen's political affiliation. Belen supported the candidacy of Camarines Sur 5th District Representative Sal Fortuno. He was also a former village chieftain before he joined the media earlier in 2010.

Belen was still in the hospital as of 15 July.

Belen has been with dwEB FM for two months. According to Arnedo, he is one of the station's two field reporters for Iriga City and would be absorbed into the staff as a regular reporter. He had been reporting on local elections and corruption.

Arnedo also said dwEB and some of its staff have received threats in the past.

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