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Three Filipino broadcasters killed in eleven days, another survives shooting

A radio blocktimer was shot dead in Tagum City, Davao del Norte province, on 11 December 2013. He was the third broadcaster killed in the last eleven days.

Tagum City in the Mindanao island group is some 1,400 kilometers south of Manila.

Rogelio "Tata" Estrada Butalid was in front of the Radyo Natin radio station where he worked, and was about to go home after his blocktime radio program when two men on a motorbike stopped near him. The back-rider alighted from the vehicle and shot Butalid at close range.

The Tagum City police said witnesses heard six gun shots.

Butalid hosted the blocktime radio program Ang Kamatuoran (The Truth), which aired on Radyo Natin Tagum 107.9, at 8 to 9 a.m., weekdays.

Radyo Natin Tagum station manager Elmer Tandoc told CMFR that Butalid last discussed on the air the conflict between two electric cooperatives in the province.

Butalid's program was sponsored by one of these two cooperatives, the DANECO-NEA, Tandoc said.

Butalid was also on his third and last term as village councilor in Barangay (village) Mankilan, confirmed Tandoc and the police.

But Butalid had been working in the radio industry since he was 17, Tandoc added.

Two other radio broadcasters were killed in the last eleven days. Joash (Joas) Dignos was killed on 29 November 2013 in Bukidnon province and Michael Diaz Melo (Mike Milo) on 06 December 2013 in Surigao del Sur.

The killings came in the heels of Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Herminio "Sonny" B. Coloma Jr.'s saying [in Tagalog] during a 22 November press briefing that "Maybe it's justified to say that there is no more impunity."

But after the killings, Coloma denounced the killing of Dignos, and later, that of Melo.

Butalid was the 22nd journalist/media worker killed in the line of duty in the Philippines under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, and the 11th this year.

Radio reporter survives shooting incident

In a separate incident, two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle ambushed and wounded a broadcaster of a radio station in Iloilo City on 10 December 2013.

Iloilo City in the Visayas island group is approximately 600 kilometers south of Manila.

Two unidentified men shot Jonavin "Jhey-r" Villalba, a reporter for dyOK Aksyon Radyo Iloilo at around 11 p.m., Tuesday 10 December, outside the reporter's house in Jaro district. Villalba obtained wounds on his left toe and his right ankle from the shooting.

A report on the station website said that the incident happened when Villalba was about to enter his home after work. The reporter was opening the gate of his house when the two men fired at him.

The reporter was rushed to a local hospital while Aksyon Radyo called the police who responded 30 minutes after the incident.

Iloilo Police Provincial Office Director Senior Superintendent Cornelio Salinas ordered the police to erect checkpoints in all of the surrounding municipalities to seize the suspects. No one has been arrested.

Nine empty shells and three deformed slugs of a nine millimeter caliber pistol were recovered in the vicinity of the shooting.

Police told CMFR that Villalba had noticed a suspicious man around the vicinity of his house days before the shooting happen. The police are still investigating the incident.

Some TV news reports said that the broadcaster's family believed that the shooting was connected with recent commentaries aired by the reporter's station.

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