Oriental Mindoro-based radio broadcaster Cresenciano ‘Cris’ Bunduquin was killed after receiving two gunshots from riding-in-tandem on C5 Road in Brgy. Santa Isabel, Calapan earlier this morning.

According to reports, Bunduquin was opening up his store when the suspects arrived. One of which has also been killed; however, the motorcycle rider managed to escape.

Media groups, organizations, as well as Cris’ colleagues expressed concern over the rising incident and attacks against journalists.

Cris is known to be a hard-hitting commentator in his news segment “Balita at Talakayan” in DWXR Kalahi Radio 101.7. He engaged on controversial topics on national and local issues, most especially on the recent oil spillage in the province.”

Bundoquin’s fall in the hands of evildoers only strengthens the resolve of the provincial press to root out the causes and activities of wickedness in society,” said Oriental Mindoro Media Club (OMMC) in a statement.

The killing of Bunduquin came almost eight months after broadcast journalist Percival Lapid was also slain in his home in Las Piñas last October 3, marking him as the third journalist killed under Marcos-Duterte administration.

“Nearly a year into the Marcos Jr. presidency and as dominant media adjusts to reporting on an administration that is not openly hostile to the press, it is tempting to consider that maybe the situation for media workers has improved and will continue improving,” NUJP said in their statement.

Philippines now ranked 132nd out of 180 countries among, a 15 leap from last year’s World Press Fredom Index report of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

While this claimed improvement for the country’s press freedom standing, RSF noted Philippines is still continued to be among the world’s “most dangerous” for journalists from being harassed, forcibly disappeared or worse being killed.

National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP) documented 53 press freedom violations ranging from red-tagging to cyber libel to physical attacks, during Marcos Jr.’s first year in office. Accordingly, it outpaced the average of 41 per year during Duterte’s six-year term.

The union further reminded not only journalists but also truth tellers and freedom-loving advocates to continue on insisting being free.

In their statement for World Press Freedom Day commemoration this year, they noted that ‘freedom is still fragile’ albeit notable press freedom victories–taking the acquittal of Maria Ressa of Rappler for example.

NUJP emphasized the continuing and three-year detention of Frenchie Mae Cumpio of Eastern Vista which demonstrated a stark contrast of such victorious achievement.

Even for Manila Today editor Lady Ann Salem of Human Rights Day 7 who, despite being released after three months of imprisonment, still suffered from physical and digital surveillance.

Enforced disappearances among progressive journalists and activists further intensified under Marcos-Duterte administration.

In fact, former chief of UP Baguio Outcrop Dexter Capuyan along with Gene Roz ‘Bazoo’ De Jesus were reportedly abducted by men who identified themselves as agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

According to reports, both were forced to ride two vehicles on the night of April 28 in Taytay, Rizal.

Barely a month after when youth and peasant activists Patricia Cierva and Cedric Casaño were also abducted by 501st Infantry Brigade in Cagayan last May 16.

“The theme of this year’s press freedom day commemoration is freedom of expression as a driver for all human rights and the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act and SIM Card Registration Act restricts that freedom from which the freedom of the press comes,” NUJP added in their WPFD statement.

With the death of yet another journalist in the midst of attacks to media freedom and democracy, OMMC said the killing of Bundoquin would not suppress the independence and freedom of the press [that has] long [been] practiced, nurtured and cherished by community journalist in the island of Mindoro.

“The untimely death of comrade Cris Bundoquin only shows those evil perpetrators who are at the beck and call of their mastermind are obviously afraid of the power of the press that only bullets can stop it!” OMMC concluded.


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