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Dhaka Tribune

Filipino journo gunned down in country’s latest media attack

The Southeast Asian nation is one of the world’s ten deadliest countries for journalists

Update : 31 May 2023, 11:14 PM

Gunmen in a drive-by attack shot dead a 50-year-old Philippine radio broadcaster early on Wednesday, making it the latest killing of a journalist in one of the world's most dangerous countries for reporters.

Cris Bundoquin was killed by two motorcycle-riding shooters at dawn when the journalist was opening a community store he owned in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, a province south of the main island of Luzon, police said.

Bundoquin hosted the Ayos Mandin radio program on the local broadcaster DWXR 101.7 Kalahi FM and also owned the internet broadcaster MUX Online Radio.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) demanded that the Philippine authorities launch a swift and thorough investigation into the killing, determine if he was targeted for his work, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

One of the attackers was killed after the victim's son, who witnessed the shooting, rammed the men's motorcycle with his vehicle. The other attackers, however, managed to escape, police said.

The Southeast Asian nation is one of the world's ten deadliest countries for journalists, with several killed on average each year for their work, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Bundoquina was the first Filipino journalist to be gunned down this year, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said. But he is the third to be killed since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr came to power in June 2022.

Since 1986, there have been 198 journalists killed in the Philippines, based on the data and monitoring from the NUJP.

The Philippines is ranked 147th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2022 World Press Freedom Index.

In 2009, members of a powerful political clan and their associates killed 58 people, including 32 journalists, in an execution-style attack in southern Maguindanao province. 

President Marcos has vowed to protect press freedom, though he often shied away from journalists with probing questions during his presidential campaign. 

He has continued to ignore requests to sit down with members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines and the CPJ.

In a statement over the latest killing, Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative, said: “The senseless killing of radio reporter Cris Bundoquin shows that those who attack journalists remain undeterred under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s one-year-old government. 

“Until the Philippine government shows it is serious about ending impunity in media murders, such killings will likely continue,” he added.    

The Philippines ranked seventh on CPJ's most recent Impunity Index, which spotlights countries worldwide where journalists are slain and the killers go free.

CPJ recently documented how the new administration of Ferdinand Marcos Jr has seen less overt antagonism toward the media than his predecessor, but that journalists continued to await substantive actions to improve the safety of the press in the country. 

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