Reporters Without Borders today condemned the murders yesterday of a husband and wife who were both journalists. George Vigo, a contributor to Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), and his wife, Macel Alave-Vigo, the presenter of a programme on radio dxND, were gunned down near their home in Kidapawan on the southern island of Mindanao.
“The Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists,” the press freedom organisation said. “We call on the police to deploy all the necessary resources to identify and punish those responsible for these murders. We also urge the authorities to give journalists better protection.”
In four other murders this year in the Philippines, the most probable motive seems to have been the victims’ journalistic work.
Two gunmen on a motorcycle shot Vigo and Alave-Vigo as they were returning home. The victims were rushed to Kidapawan hospital where they died of their gunshot injuries. The Philippines National Police has begun an investigation. Relatives of the couple said they did not seem to have any enemies. Kidapawan police chief Danny Reyes said the police had not yet been able to determine the motive for the killings.
Vigo, who worked for an NGO that helped displaced families, wrote frequently for local newspapers and UCAN, a Catholic news agency. He also presented a programme for young people, “Tingog sa Kabatan-unan” (Youth Voice), on radio dxND. Alave-Vigo hosted a weekly programme, “Kalihukan sa Kongreso” (Congress Affairs), on the same station, and worked for congressional representative Emmylou Taliño-Santos.
The couple helped create the Federation of Reporters for Empowerment and Equality (FREE) and were human rights activists. They left four children, aged 20, 13, 9 and 7.