Some Palawan journalists staying away from covering Malampaya issue – NUJP officer

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MANILA, Philippines – Journalists in Palawan continue to fear for their lives two years after the assassination of environmentalist-journalist Dr. Gerry Ortega whenever they cover the alleged misuse of funds from the Malampaya gas project.

“Even at this time, the impact of this issue among the local media practitioners is very strong, … a lot of journalists, especially journalists who are covering the story from Palawan, have opted to stay away from the issue,” National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) officer and Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent Redempto Anda said during a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing Thursday.

“If you go to Palawan, not a lot of people talk about this anymore, we’ve had two journalists killed in the past six to seven years [and] we’ve lost several leaders in the civil-society group … [including] Dr. Jose Antonio Socrates, one of the founders of Kilusan Love Malampaya,” Anda said.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, headed by Senator Teofisto Guingona III, was conducting the investigation to find out how funds from the Malampaya gas project had been misused by the provincial government.

Malampaya is an offshore gas reservoir about 80 kilometers northwest of Palawan Island and is estimated to have 2.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas 3,000 meters below sea level.

A previous committee hearing had found that an anomalous road project of the local government had reportedly received P20 million in December 2007, P14 million in January 2008, P20 million in February 2008, and another P20 million in 2008.

“Clearly there was corruption,” Guingona had said at the start of the hearing. He then proceeded to tackle the issue of the murder of Dr. Gerry Ortega last January 24, 2011, which was allegedly because he had been critical of the provincial governor Joel Reyes for corruption.

“While we are talking here, there is blanket fear among journalists to talk about the misuse of Malampaya funds of the provincial government,” Guingona said.

Anda said that he continues to receive threats and pressure from the provincial government and is forced to go around with a security aide.

“I would like to stress on the issue of the absence of assurances among civil-society members [and] media practitioners in general, we are literally sitting ducks in Palawan and we can’t do anything about it,” Anda said.

How Reyes, along with his brother Mario Reyes, managed to escape authorities and even leave the country was also looked into by Guingona. The Reyes brothers have already been placed in the most wanted list of the Philippine National Police with a P2 million reward.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/K63PQGGWTWPALHJE7FMKKPAOCE Public

    And the government had done nothing just to “close” every possibilities of corruption or to investigate. For they know (current and previous senators) they are also involved on “misuse of funds”.

    If senate will start the initiative to investigate, they can be themselves as “hypocrites”.

    What to do now? NOTHING!!! LIVE IT, AND LET THE ISSUE DIE SOON.

    No, wonder. Philippines has the struggle to reclaim spratly islands and scarborough shoal.
    The God of heaven, doesn’t want that the resource will go to corrupt leaders, either to Philippines or China.

    Ahaha…

  • virgoyap

    Malampaya gas project: is this a government owned? How come it became terroristic?

  • $37644997

    We now have terrorism activities in the region,I strongly beleive that this small faction of evil intent are the direct subsidiary of current local governing body.They will continue to corrupt to maintain
    their own protection and personal interest.With out the funds coming in there will be no such thing.

  • WeAry_Bat

    in the movie shooter, kill all resistance to the project.  the next villages get the message and leaves when project reaches the area.

  • ben311

    takot o corrupton sa media ?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4R3GZTGML26TV2VGS6RVHP2THM Fred

    May mga journalists na hindi taga Palawan ang maglalakas loob kaya na ma cover ang
    Malampaya fund? Tanungin natin si Rigoberto at si Doronila.

  • http://batman-news.com stupid chink

    Dont vote for Mitra and any candidate from the murderous reyeses

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4H6F72GM6QWLQVBRUV5RWDQJEQ Allan

    Kalokuhan na naman ng mga bayarang mamamahayag sa Palawan. Magkano na naman kaya ang kinita ng mga ito mula sa tunay na nagpapatay kay Doc Gerry?

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