ARMM gov orders probe on news team’s ambush
Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has ordered authorities to conduct a deeper investigation on the ambush of a television news crew in Marawi City on Saturday afternoon.
“We agree that the attack underscores the brazenness of armed groups to target even the media who are only out to do their duty as members of the fourth estate and perform their profession in the name of press freedom,” Hataman said in a statement on Saturday night.
“The Marawi police is ordered to investigate this attack and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice,” he added.
Unidentified armed men attacked an ABS-CBN news team that is based in Barangay Banggolo in Marawi City past noontime on Saturday.
The team had just followed up a story on another bomb attack on a power pylon in Barangay Lanao Ramain, also in Marawi City, when they noticed being tailed by armed men on two motorcycles, Ronnie Enderes, the news team’s reporter, told the Inquirer by phone.
Enderes and his colleagues—cameraman Emilito Balansag and driver Gary Montecillo —were on their way back to Iligan City when the attack took place, he said. Montecillo stepped on the gas pedal to lose the men but they too sped up.
Enderes said upon reaching Banggolo, the armed men fired shots on them, hitting the driver’s side of their vehicle.
“None of us was hurt but we could not describe the fear we felt,” he said.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Iligan-Lanao del Norte chapter strongly condemned the incident.
The NUJP also urged the military and the police to take a serious action against lawless elements in Marawi City.
Police authorities said they still had no clue on the motive and identities of the perpetrators.
Hataman said the ARMM government “joins those who are calling to end media violence in the country as we stand with journalists and media organizations against these unacceptable attacks.”
In Manila, ABS-CBN News condemned the attack on Saturday on their news team by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Banggolo.
“We are relieved that Ronnie, Emilito, and Gary are safe and unharmed. We are also grateful to the Philippine Army’s 103rd Brigade for providing temporary refuge to our news team,” ABS-CBN said in a statement released on Dec. 26. Richel Umel, Inquirer Mindanao
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