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Filipino radio reporter still under threat years after surviving slay attempt

A radio reporter in Bukidnon province has been receiving threatening text messages and said a suspicious man on an unregistered motorbike came looking for him at his home in Valencia City on 17 January 2014. The reporter survived a slay attempt almost ten years earlier, on 12 November 2004, for reporting on corruption in the province.

Bukidnon province in Mindanao Island is some 1,500 kilometers south of Metro Manila.

Arthur "Jun" Sapanghari Jr., reporter for Catholic-owned dxDB Radyo Bandilyo, told CMFR on 24 January 2014 that while he was reporting from the field, his wife called him and said a man on an unregistered motorbike came to their home looking for him.

"Half of the man's face was covered and he had a cap on. When my wife said I was out working, he sped off before my wife could ask him anything," Sapanghari said. "His description is the same as that of suspected killers."

Sapanghari added that he had been receiving threatening text messages from mobile phone number +63 936 512 8164 since December 2013, but did not take them seriously until the incident on 17 January 2014.

CMFR tried to call the mobile phone number, but it has been deactivated.

"One of the texts said 'You're not going to make it to Christmas. You're next after Dignos."

"Another text message threatened to get my wife and children first before me," Sapanghari said.

On 29 November 2013, radio blocktimer Joash Dignos was shot dead in Valencia City. An escaped convict, Dionesio Daulong, has since been charged for Dignos's murder, but remains at-large.

Three men, according to Sapanghari, were also tailing his motorbike and monitoring his whereabouts.

Sapanghari said he recently reported on an illegal logging operation that led to an arrest. He also recalled another report that led to the arrest of a man who sold children to sex-slavery, but he said the man escaped and was confirmed to have planned a gun attack on his house.

He also said the threats could still be related to when he was shot in 12 November 2004, which he said was because of his report on the alleged corruption of a municipal treasurer in Maramag town, Bukidnon.

On April 2010, CMFR also reported an assault against Sapanghari in 19 March 2010. The reporter was traversing a road on a motorbike with his cousin when two men knocked them down and struck them. Sapanghari said the incident could have been connected to his report on public complaints against a piggery which led to local authorities' closing it down.

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