June 26, 2019

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns the harassment committed by a lone gunman against five Bulacan-based journalists who were on their way home to Malolos, Bulacan, around 3:00 in the afternoon of June 21, 2019, Friday.

Philippine Daily Inquirer Bulacan correspondent, Carmela Reyes-Estrope said she and four other journalists were riding in a Mitsubishi Adventure provided by the Bulacan provincial office when a motorcycle-riding man stopped their vehicle along Igay Road in San Jose Del Monte City, ten minutes after they left Norzagaray, Bulacan.

The four other journalists are Frederick Silverio of Manila Times, his wife Eloisa Silverio of IOrbit News online, Louie Angeles of DWIZ and Isagani Navarro, camera man of GMA 7 stringer Rommel Ramos.

She said they had just covered the water sampling in Wacuman Sanitary Landfill in Norzagaray Bulacan when the incident happened. The event was sponsored by the Department of Environment and Natural resources.

“The armed man blocked our path and asked for the mobile number of Bulacan Provincial Engineer Glen Reyes, who was with the DENR team in the sampling,” Estrope said.

Driver Federico Rivas said he saw the motorcycle riding man tailing them since they left Wacuman.

The NUJP said such brazen display of force against unarmed media workers should not be tolerated as it puts the lives of the journalists in extreme danger, especially under the current administration whose only solution to almost every problem is to kill.

It also called on the authorities to “investigate the incident, identify the gunman and bring him to court.”

Already, 12 media workers have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office on June 30, 2016. Still others who are perceived to be critical of this administration were harassed, arrested, and criminal and civil cases were filed against them.

“We call on all media workers to resist every act of intimation, state-sponsored or not, which are meant to silence them, organize into unions and actively defend press freedom,” the NUJP statement said.

“We must not allow another Ampatuan massacre to happen,” the statement ended.

Almost ten years ago in November 23, 2019, 58 persons including 32 journalists were massacred in Ampatuan, Maguindanao in what would later be declared as the International Day to End Impunity.