Bukidnon broadcaster receives death threats

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Friday, January 24, 2014


ILIGAN CITY — A broadcaster in Bukidnon Province has received death threats following his reporting of a recent case of illegal logging in the province, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said.

The threats came almost two months after a journalist in the province was killed.

Arthur Sapanghari Jr., a reporter of Catholic-owned DxDB Radio Bandilyo based in Malaybalay City, reported that in the morning of Jan. 20, an unidentified man went to his home in Valencia City.

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This raised an alarm for his safety and that of his family.

Prior to that, Sapanghari said he has been receiving messages on his mobile phone that spew threats against him and his family.

He said that one of the messages implied that he will be the next journalist to be killed in Valencia City after Joash Dignos who was gunned down last November 29, 2013.

Dignos maintained a one-hour radio blocktime program titled “Bombardeyo” with dxGT Radyo Abante based in Maramag town.

Sapanghari, vice-chair of the NUJP Bukidnon Chapter, said the threats came following his reportage on the transport of illegally-cut logs in the province.

On November 12, 2004, Sapanghari was a victim of a gun attack in Maramag but luckily he was unscathed. He suspected that his story on the alleged malversation case of a municipal treasurer in Bukidnon could have been the reason for the attempt on his life. He still didn’t discount that story and considered it one of the motives of his death threats now.

Sapanghari related that he has already reported the threats, as well as the visit of the unidentified man in his home, to police authorities and to his superiors in the radio station.

On January 23, 2014, the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) held the 50th monthly commemoration of Maguindanao massacre at the press freedom monument in De Lara Park. The members of COPC lighted candles to remember those who perished in the world’s worst attack on the media in one day.

Moñsignor Elmer Abacahin, COPC president, said, "We should not lose hope and won’t be discouraged because justice would surely be served."

He urged the media to continue to fight for press freedom and remain vigilant in the quest for justice of those slain journalists in the country.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 24, 2014.

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