CHR probes attack on Sultan Kudarat radio station manager
MANILA, Philippines –– The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has sent out teams to investigate the attack on a radio station manager in Sultan Kudarat, according to its spokesperson.
CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement Thursday that a Quick Response Team in Soccsksargen is making its way to the area to check the ambush on Benjie Caballero, who is now in critical condition at the hospital.
“The recent attempt on the life of Radyo ni Juan Station Manager is another incident in the growing trend of media harassment and violence. Benjie Caballero, who is also the current president of the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Task Force on Media Security, was reportedly shot five times by two still unidentified assailants around 1:15 in the afternoon, 30 October 2019 in Tacurong City,” De Guia said.
“CHR-Region XII has already dispatched a Quick Response Team to investigate the case,” she added.
Reports from the Tacurong City Police Station said Caballero was waiting for a tricycle in Barangay New Isabela when two men aboard motorcycles shot him.
The latest developments said Caballero was fighting for his life at the St. Louis Hospital.
The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) said the victim received death threats before the attack.
CHR has also urged government forces to quickly resolve the case, to end the recent spate of attacks against media practitioners, especially in Mindanao.
The attack against Caballero came weeks after a radioman was shot in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
“A vibrant democracy is one where media is free to operate and report the news without threat or fear of violence. The alarming rise of incidences involving threats, harassment, and violence to members of the media serves as a curtailment to the freedom of the press, expression, and speech,” De Guia explained.
“Thus, the Commission strongly condemns violent actions towards journalists and members of the media. We urge the government to act on this case quickly to bring justice to the victim and his family. Furthermore, we wish to remind the public-at-large of the importance of non-violence in espousing our differing opinions,” she noted./lzb
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