Press Release
January 25, 2011

Legarda Condemns Killing of Broadcaster in Palawan

Senator Loren Legarda today denounced the killing of a broadcaster in Palawan as she stressed the urgency of passing proposed legislation that will qualify as murder the killing of members of media in the performance of their duties.

Legarda said that the killing of Gerardo Ortega, a radio commentator known to be a staunch critic of mining operations in Palawan, is a loss not only to the media industry but also to the environment sector.

"It is lamentable that a journalist, who courageously advocated for environment protection, had to die brutally. I condemn in the strongest sense this reckless act of violence committed against a seeker of truth and protector of the earth," she said.

Ortega, anchor of the daily radio program "Ramatak" aired over local station dwAR, was shot in the head on Monday at about 10:30 am outside a commercial establishment in Barangay San Pedro, Puerto Princesa City.

Legarda, a former broadcast journalist, said that such acts committed against members of the media even in broad daylight shows the urgency of passing Senate Bill 1426, now under Committee Report No. 9, which seeks to qualify the killing of members of media in the performance of their duties from mere homicide to murder.

"According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Ortega is the 142nd journalist killed since 1986. Even under democratic rule, violence against members of the Fourth Estate will not cease if we do nothing about it. We have to put a stop to the killing of journalists and media practitioners. This measure will help protect them while in the lawful exercise of their functions," Legarda stressed.

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