Reporters sans frontières expressed its serious concern following a series of attacks against two radio stations in the south of the Philippines. The organisation for the defence of press freedom asked, in a letter sent to the Philippine Minister of the Interior, Mr José Lina, that the investigations launched by the local police should help identify the authors of these two attacks and also their motivations. ’Our concern is more than justified: since January 2000 at least six radio stations have been the target of attacks in the Philippines’, declared Robert Ménard, RSF General Secretary.
According to the information obtained by Reporters sans frontières, a bomb exploded in the night of 22 May 2002 in front of the headquarters of Radyo Bombo (which broadcasts in AM and FM under the names DXIF and DXEQ) in Cagayan de Oro (Island of Mindanao, southern Philippines). According to Michael Bustamante, assistant manager of the radio station, a neighbour said he saw four men near the premises just before the explosion caused by a home-made bomb which left a crater in the road and destroyed the radio station’s street-front signs. Smoke prevented the guard from identifying the authors. Nobody was injured. According to the station manager, Albino Quinlog, this attack could be linked to several reports broadcast by the station. Radyo Bombo is known for its critical stands towards corrupt politicians and the attitude of the armed forces and the police. The radio premises underwent M16 Armalite fire in 2001.
Also, the premises of the radio station Radyo Natin were destroyed by fire, in the night of 22 May 2002, in Baganga (Island of Mindanao, Davao Oriental province, southern Philippines). According to Davao Oriental police director, Superintendent Catalino Cuy, individuals threw a Molotov cocktail into the radio station’s premises. Once the damage has been assessed, equipment losses could amount to nearly one million Philippine pesos (i.e. twenty-two thousand euros) Still according to Mr Cuy, Communist rebels could be involved in the attack, which a spokesman of the station denied saying that the members of the guerrilla were ’friends’. Other sources, for their part, emphasise that town councillors might well be the orchestrators of this attack. The radio station has indeed always been highly critical of the Mayor of Baganga, Jerry Morales, who had ordered the shutdown of the station for six months in 2001.