A day after a Laguna community journalist was killed, another radio reporter in Agusan del Sur on Mindanao Island was also gunned down on August 20, reports reaching the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) said.
Rico Ramirez, a reporter-cameraman of dxSF radio station for three years, was killed by unidentified men. He was shot a hundred meters away from the station around 6:30 p.m.
The reports of the killing, which Tutor described as sketchy, said two men were waiting for Ramirez a hundred meters away from the station and shot him once in the back. Tutor said there were reports that Ramirez did not die instantly and was still breathing, but that no one brought him to the hospital.
Local police, Tutor said, have no lead to the killing. However, he said it was possible that Ramirez had been killed “because of his recent expos?s on the crimes and drug syndicates operating in the area.”
CMFR is currently investigating the case.
The CMFR database says that Ramirez was the 58th Filipino journalist to be killed in the line of duty since 1961.
Since 1961 only two cases have been verified to have been solved and which resulted in the imprisonment of the killers. No case has been solved since 1986.
Four journalists had been killed earlier this year in the country, making the killing of Ramirez the fifth in what is turning out to be one of the worst years of journalists’ assassinations on record.
On April 28 John Villanueva Jr., 53, announcer of radio station dzGB in Albay, was shot dead by still unidentified gunmen in Camalig, Albay. A similar tandem gunned down radio broadcaster Apolinario Pobeda on May 17 in Lucena City, Quezon. Bonifacio Gregorio, a reporter in a community paper in Tarlac, Dyaryo Banat, was killed on July 8.
Noel Villarante was gunned down on August 19. He was a columnist of the community newspaper Laguna Score and a broadcaster of local radio station dzJV.
An average of three journalists a year have been killed since 1986 in the Philippines despite the decrease in the number of slain journalists worldwide. The already high number of journalists killed so far this year has raised concern among local and international press-freedom organizations.