Eighth Filipino journalist killed this year

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Leo Luna Mila, 35, a news anchorman and commentator of Radyo Natin, was gunned down Tuesday in San Roque, Northern Samar, Philippines. Mila was shot 12 times while leaving work. As publisher of the local magazine Peryodista and host of another radio program "Bungkaras" (Wake Up), he had been critical of the New People's Army's forced taxation. He had received threats through text messages last September.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that Mila is the 8th journalist killed in the Philippines this year and the 62nd since 2001, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power. A total of 122 media people have been murdered since President Cory Aquino overthrew the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice's Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor, chairman of the "Task Force 211" - Against Political Violence and Extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances in the Philippines, announced that a probe team would be sent to Northern Samar. The Northern Samar provincial police office has also formed "Task Force Mila" to investigate the killing. Two local politicians, including San Roque Mayor Andre Avalon, have offered a P100,000 (US$2 067.80) bounty for any information leading to the capture of the suspects.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said, "it is time for the central government, as well as local authorities, to promptly address the climate of impunity that is facilitating rising violence against Philippine journalists. Mila's murder is a reminder that police throughout the Philippines must respond immediately with investigations and protection when journalists are threatened for their work."

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