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Mindanao jounalists receive death threat

Say text message motivated by reporting on illegal logging

  • Lance Daniel Baconguis, Cagayan de Oro
  • Philippines
  • June 20, 2012
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Three journalists in Cagayan de Oro City say they received text message death threats yesterday over reporting they did on illegal logging operations in Mindanao’s Caraga region.

The message, sent to Herbie Gomez, editor in chief of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, referenced two other staff members of the paper: correspondent Edwin Iyo and publisher Ernesto Chu.

“You are just like your stupid correspondent in Gingoog City. You think we cannot get all you[r] numbers. We will feed all of you to Lolong [a giant crocodile], including Mr Chu. We will kill all of you. This is someone from Cabantian,” the message read.

The death threat is thought to have been in response to the paper’s front-page story last week that said Interior and Local Government Secretary Jessie Robredo wanted to file charges against businessman Roger Edma, who is allegedly involved in moving illegal timber from Butuan City to Cabantian village in Magsaysay town in Misamis Oriental province.

The story said that Robredo ordered an investigation and the suspension of several officials of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office in Gingoog City.

Edma, reputed to be a timber trader, is the brother of Bukidnon’s San Fernando town mayor, Laurencia Edma and is believed to be the owner of 6 million pesos (about US$140,000) worth of illegal timber mentioned in the report.

Edma had pointed blame at local tribal leaders in La Paz, saying they had illegally harvested the wood to raise funds for their children’s education.

The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines today condemned the death threats against the journalists.

 

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