Another radio journalist shot dead in Philippines

Monday 30 October, 2017


A community radio broadcaster in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, Philippines, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen last Tuesday.

Christopher Iban Lozada, 29, was the operations manager and anchor of dxBF Prime Broadcasting Network.

Lozada and his girlfriend were riding in his car when gunmen armed with high-powered firearms opened fire on them. According to the police, Lozada died instantly from multiple gunshot wounds on his chest.

He hosted a local public-affairs program, “Batikos”, where he frequently lashed out against government corruption. He was also called “Dok Chris” as he had health-related radio programs.

Lozada had previously filed a corruption complaint against Librado Navarro, the mayor of Bislig and other officials before the Office of the Ombudsman over their involvement in a questionable hydraulic excavator deal, after which they were found guilty of grave misconduct.

Earlier this month, Lozada had filed reports with The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) - set up specifically to curb threats to journalists, detailing the threats he was receiving and his accusations against the mayor.

Some of the threats could be found on his own Facebook account.

“I’m not an activist; I don’t look for controversy. I’m not a political person, but I’m a person with compassion,” Lozada said in a live Facebook video on October 15.

In another Facebook post, Lozada posted a text message theatening him. "Another grave threat. I received this while I was hosting a program on air. I'm slightly worried by this incident because I was told that my days are numbered and that I would die soon. I'm just doing all these for the people. Now they're telling me this; I think they're getting used to this kind of act," he said.

Since 2009, the province of Surigao del Sur has recorded seven gun attacks involving radio broadcasters, only one of whom survived.

Among the victims were Godofredo Linao Jr., who was killed in Barobo town on July 27, 2009; Datu Roy Quijada Gallego on October 14, 2011 in Lianga town; Michael Milo on December 8, 2013 in Tandag City; Apolonio Suan, a provincial board member who hosted a radio program over Real FM in Bislig, who was shot on board his van on July 14, 2016; and Joe Climaco, host of a local TV program, who was killed on August 25, 2016.

In July, a radio broadcaster in Marihatag town survived a gun attack. Julito Orillaneda, 35, owner and operator of the dxJB FM, was about to disembark from a tricycle when the gunman on board a motorcycle shot him several times, hitting him in the head, neck, face and right arm.

In August, unidentified gunmen on motorcycles killed journalists Rudy Alicaway and Leonardo Diaz in separate incidents, also in the south.

Lozada was the fifth journalist killed in Surigao del Sur province in eight years. He was the third journalist killed since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed power in June 2016.

The New York-based nonprofit media monitor Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has labeled the Philippines the second most dangerous country for journalists, second only to Iraq.

Country Philippines
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