Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the indifference of both local and national authorities to the fate of radio presenter and anti-logging campaigner Joey Estriber, who has been missing ever since he was kidnapped outside an Internet café in Baler, in Aurora province (northeast of Manila), on the evening of 3 March 2006.
"It is eight months to the day since Estriber was abducted and nothing has been done by the authorities to find and identify his kidnappers," the press freedom organisation said. "It seems that complicity between the local police and logging companies has prevented any progress in the investigation. The authorities in Manila must restart enquiries as a matter of urgency."
A freelance journalist who presented the programme Pag-usapan Natin (Let’s talk about that) on local radio station DZJO, Estriber was kidnapped by four gunmen. According to a representative of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the kidnapping took place a few yards from a police station, but the police never questioned the witnesses.
Estriber has five dependants - his wife and four children - who have had no source of income since his disappearance.
A well-known critic of deforestation in Aurora province, he often used his radio programme to condemn the intensive logging being carried out by companies with the support of people within the local government, and he had participated in a campaign calling for the withdrawal of the nine licences issued to logging companies in the province.
Estriber also worked for a local development NGO, Bataris, which a military officer speaking on a radio station in February described as the kind of organisation that should be combated.