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Photojournalist shot dead in Mindanao

Lone gunman murders Mario Sy in front of his family reporter, Manila

August 2, 2013

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Police have launched a murder hunt after a photojournalist was shot dead yesterday in General Santos City, on the southern island of Mindanao.

The killing comes less than a week after two journalists were gunned down in Manila.

Investigators said a lone gunman shot 53-year-old Mario Sy, a photojournalist with local tabloid Sapol (Hit), in front of his wife and daughter at their home in the city’s Dadiangas West district.

They say the motive for the murder has yet to be established.

Michelle Alquinto, chairman of the Photojournalists Center of the Philippines, called for a thorough probe into the killing, urging authorities to "act swiftly" and "stop the killings of journalists once and for all before we all perish."

Sy's killing comes on the heels of the murders of Richard Kho and Bonifacio Loreto, columnists for the Aksyon Ngayon (Action Now) weekly newspaper who were shot dead in Quezon City late on Tuesday.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility said the murders of the columnists "might be work-related," in what is a rare case of Manila-based journalists being killed. 

Most journalists and media workers killed in the Philippines have been based outside Manila.

The Committee to Protect Journalists in New York says at least 74 journalists have been murdered in the Philippines since 1992.

The government has repeatedly vowed to stop the killing of journalists. President Benigno Aquino even created last year an inter-agency task force headed by the Justice Secretary to look into the killings.

"We will continue our efforts to stop the impunity against journalists, the extralegal killings," Lacierda said in an earlier statement, adding that the government is also looking at the motives of the killings to determine whether they stem from a victim’s work as a journalist.

Sy’s murder brings the total number of journalists killed this year to five and and the total killed during President Aquino's tenure to 16.

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