Philippines: Husband and wife radio broadcasters gunned down

New York, June 20, 2006—Two unidentified gunmen shot and killed part-time radio broadcaster George Vigo and his wife Mazel on the island of Mindanao on June 19. The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating the motives behind the attack.

The two were walking home from a public market when they were shot by men on a motorcycle, according to media reports. They died on the way to the hospital, according to Reuters, which quoted local police.

George Vigo was a contributor to the Bangkok-based, church news agency, Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), and was also active in a local nongovernmental organization that helped rehabilitate internally displaced people. Mazel Vigo hosted a radio program on local station DXND.

The two had previously been active in left-wing student groups, according to The Associated Press. Activists, as well as journalists, have been the frequent targets of murder in the Philippines.

In 2005, four journalists were killed in the Philippines, more than in any other country except Iraq. Twenty-three journalists have been killed for their work there since 2000. In a May 15 letter to Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, CPJ noted that there has been just one conviction in these murders. Read the letter.

“We call on authorities to conduct a full investigation into the circumstances of the death of George and Mazel Vigo,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “Until there is justice for the many Philippine journalists who have been killed for their work, the murders are sure to continue.”