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Philippine News Digest 96

January 18, 2007 · 


-2006 ‘bloodiest year’ for journalists, says group
-RP elected VP of UN social council
-Japanese gov’t pressure sought on RP over human rights

2006 ‘bloodiest year’ for journalists, says group
by: Nonoy Espina

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has again been tagged as the second deadliest country for journalists, next to war-torn Iraq, as 2006 made its mark as “the bloodiest year on record for journalism worldwide,” with at least 155 killed and 22 more dying in accidents, an international media organization said.

In its report, “Journalism Put to the Sword in 2006,” the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) noted: “Second only to Iraq among the world’s hotspots for journalism is the Philippines where 13 journalists died in 2006, bringing to 49 the number of media staff murdered since [President] Gloria [Macapagal] Arroyo came to power in 2001 — surpassing the numbers killed under the 14-year Marcos dictatorship.”In 2005, the IFJ counted 154 media deaths but said that the total included 48 Iranian journalists accidentally killed while on a military assignment. Last year’s 22 accidental deaths were recorded separately from violent deaths.

Many of the killings, the report said, were “targeted assassinations with political motives,” even in Iraq, where “media were prime targets for terrorist attacks,” while others were “at the hands of gangsters.”

Despite the worsening death toll, the IFJ said there was “one positive sign” as the “year of tragedy and unprecedented brutality” came to a close — the December 23 United Nations (UN) statement condemning the targeting of journalists and calling for the prosecution of killers of media workers.

The Middle East was the deadliest region in 2006 with 73 deaths, but this was mainly because of the 69 killed in Iraq. Latin America followed, with 37 deaths, 10 of these in Mexico, which the IFJ report said had “moved ahead of Colombia as the deadliest country for journalists” in the continent.

In Asia, “relentless attacks in the Philippines and Sri Lanka,” where seven journalists were killed, pushed the death toll to 34.

RP elected VP of UN social council
The Philippine STAR

The Philippines has been elected as one of the vice presidents of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Lauro Baja Jr. was unanimously elected as vice president of the 54-member Council while Lithuania’s Ambassador Dalius Cekuolis was elected president.

Last October, the Philippines topped the elections for the ECOSOC membership, the first time it achieved such a distinction in an election to a major organ of the UN.

“Our election is a great leap of confidence considering that this is the first year of the Philippines in ECOSOC after a hiatus of more than 10 years,” Baja said.

The last time the Philippines sat as a member of the ECOSOC was in 1992-1997.

According to Baja, the Philippines will represent Asia in the Bureau of the Council, which unlike bureaus of other organs, runs the multifaceted, year-long activities of the Council.

The 54-member ECOSOC serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system.

Japanese gov’t pressure sought on RP over human rights
Phili[pine Daily Inquirer
Jeffrey M. Tupas

DAVAO CITY — At least 14 Japan-based non-government organizations and human rights groups have urged the Tokyo government to pressure the Philippines into putting a stop to attacks targeting militants and journalists.

A copy of a translated letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of, from Kayoko Sanao of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a human rights
group based in Hong Kong.

The groups issued the call following a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in December last year, here the two leaders reportedly discussed briefly the human rights situation in the Philippines.

In the letter, dated January 9, the human rights groups, which included Amnesty International-Japan, Campaign for Future of Filipino Children (CFFC) and the Civil Society Network for the Elimination of Political Killings in the Philippines, asked Abe and Katsuhiko Asano, Japanese senior vice foreign minister, to “review the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines upon the occasion of your visit to the Philippines.

Hundreds of activists and journalists have already been killed since democracy was restored in the Philippines in 1986. Most of the killings have been blamed on the government’s security forces. Arroyo has formed the Melo commission to look into the killings but it has yet to come up with concrete findings.

The other groups which signed the appeal to Abe were the Citizen’s Group to review the 50th Anniversary of the Philippines and Japan Friendship, Friends of the Earth-Japan (FoE), Human Rights Now, Jubilee Kansai Network, National Christian Council Japan, Official Development Assistance Net, Kalipunan ng Filipinong Nagkakaisa-Yokohama, People to People Aid (P2), Philippines Information Center Nagoya and the Japan-Wayawaya.

The AHRC said Japan was in a position to pressure the Philippine government into resolving the extra-judicial killings. The Japanese government is one of the biggest foreign donors involved in re-building war-torn areas in Mindanao and is also one of the top lenders to the Manila government. [End]


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