Two Filipino broadcasters receive death threats

Two Filipino broadcasters receive death threats

New York./ 9, 2008 According to CMFR two radio broadcast journalist have received death threats.

Two Filipino radio broadcasters based in the southern island of Mindanao received death threats after reporting alleged extortion activities involving some local government officials.

Erin Lumosbog of RPN-9’s radio station dxKT-Radyo Ronda (Roving Radio) Davao and James Pala of dxAM-Radyo Rapido (Rapid Radio) said they received the threats on their mobile phones telling them to stop discussing alleged extortion activities by some councilors of the municipality of Santa Cruz in Davao del Sur, an 7
October report said.

In a phone interview with the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) last 8 October, Lumosbog said the threats came after he discussed on his radio program allegations by a local businessman that some municipal council members had asked him for P1.2 million (approx. USD 25,586) in exchange for their approval of
his request to quarry in their jurisdiction.

The businessman was able to raise only P480,000 (approx. USD 10,235). His request was denied. The businessman approached the media for help when the councilors allegedly refused to return his P480,000. quoted one of the messages as saying, „If you will not stop doing commentaries on the Santa Cruz issue, bullets might force you to stop.“ Lumosbog tried calling the numbers used to send him the threats but all had been deactivated.

Lumosbog continues to discuss the issue in his radio program but said he is taking precautionary measures. „If we let the threats affect us, our radio program will be ruined,“ he said in Filipino. He explained that he has lessened his field activities and is staying in a „safe house.“

„We have been asking the councilors to explain their side,“ Lumosbog said in Filipino. But he said the councilors seem to be avoiding the media. „When we went to see the councilors allegedly involved, they suddenly disappeared from the session hall,“ he said.

There is an ongoing investigation on the alleged extortion activities. Santa Cruz municipal mayor Joel Ray Lopez told that several businessmen did „(decide) to withdraw their investments (in Santa Cruz) because some councilors were
asking money from them in exchange for some favors.“

Source: CMFR