A COALITION of 52 countries have expressed “grave concern” over the killing of Filipino radio journalist Cresenciano Bunduquin in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro last May 31.
The Dutch and Canadian embassies in Manila issued their joint statement via Twitter. The Netherlands and Canada are joint chairs of the Media Freedom Coalition (MFC) in the Philippines.
The 50-year old Bunduquin hosted a radio program over 101.7 DWXR “Kalahi FM” as well as on Facebook. His station manager described him as a “hard-hitting” commentator, as he voiced opinions on issues that include the recent oil spill in Mindoro, illegal gambling and politics.
Around 4:20 a.m. two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle shot the broadcaster in front of his store. The victim’s son was able to board a car and chased the assailants. He bumped their motorcycle which killed one of the suspects, identified as Narciso Ignacio Guntan. The other suspect was able to escape.
“We express our grave concern about the killing of radio broadcaster Mr. Bunduquin… We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones he left behind,” the Canadian and Dutch embassies said in their joint statement.
The MFC is a global diplomatic network of 52 countries that pledges to defend media freedom where and when it is under threat. Aside from Canada and the Netherlands, other MFC member-countries include the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and South Korea. The coalition was created to “proactively” advocate for media freedom at home and abroad.
The Philippines, considered as “one of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists,” is not a member of the MFC.
“As co-chairs of the MFC, we welcome swift action by law-enforcement agencies to investigate Mr. Bunduquin’s death, and urge Philippine authorities to take concrete steps to ensure…the perpetrators are brought to justice,” the coalition’s declaration said.
It went further: “Media freedom is an integral element of democracy. To safeguard [such], it is essential that journalists can execute their work without fearing for their lives and safety. Attacks on media workers must be urgently investigated, and those responsible must be held accountable.”