UN official seeks justice for 2 slain Pinoy journalists
MANILA, Philippines - A United Nations official has urged authorities to bring to justice the killers of two Filipino journalists.
“I condemn the killing of Vergel Bico and Fernando Solijon,” said UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) director-general Irina Bokova.
“These two killings bring to five the number of Philippine journalists assassinated since July. I urge the authorities to take action to bring the culprits of these crimes to justice.”
Bico, 41, editor of the weekly Kalahi newspaper in Calapan who had been writing about illegal gambling activities, was shot twice in the head last Sept. 4 in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.
Solijon, a radio commentator of dxLS Love Radio in Iligan City in northern Mindanao, was shot eight times by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle on Aug. 29.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Solijon had criticized local politicians on his program and linked a barangay chairman to illegal drugs.
At least three other journalists have been killed in the Philippines over the past months.
On July 30, two gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed newspaper columnists Richard Kho and Bonifacio Loreto in Quezon City.
On Aug. 1, an unidentified gunman shot and killed freelance photographer Mario Sy in his home in General Santos City.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating the circumstances behind the murders to determine if they were related to their work as journalists.
At least 73 Filipino journalists have been killed in direct connection to their work since 1992.
At least 55 journalist murders in the past decade are unresolved, according to CPJ research.