MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A week after a radio commentator was shot dead in Bukidnon, a radio broadcaster was gunned down in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur late Friday night, December 6, police said Sunday, December 8.
Michael Milo, supervisor of Prime Radio FM and managing editor of Prime Balita newspaper, was on his way home aboard a motorcycle late Friday night when 3 motorcycle-riding assailants fired at him, Surigao del Sur Provincial Police Office in Charge Supt Romeo Ramos said in a dzMM radio report.
He was rushed to the hospital but failed to survive the attack, radio dzBB reported.
Police are now investigating whether the killing is family or work-related. Milo reportedly received a death threat prior to Saturday’s incident, according to dzMM.
A special investigation unit called Task Group Milo has been created to probe the case.
Milo had hosted a daily radio show on alternative medicine and local issues in Tandag, a small fishing and farming city on the troubled southern island of Mindanao.
The killing comes weeks after the 4th anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre, where 58 people, including at least 34 journalists, were abducted and murdered, while on their way to accompany Maguindanao Gov Esmael Mangudadatu in his filing of a certificate of candidacy in 2009.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranks the Philippines as the third-worst in its “impunity index” of countries that fail to fight violence against the press.
CPJ said at least 72 journalists had been murdered since 1992, not counting the cases of Dignos and Milo.
President Benigno Aquino III, elected in 2010 on a reformist platform, said his government would stop such murders but local media groups have accused his administration of not doing enough and of downplaying the killings.
Malacañang denounced the incident.
In an interview over government-run dzRB radio on Sunday, December 8, Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr said: “Kinokondena po namin ang pagpaslang kay Ginoong Michael Milo, isang broadcaster Prime Radio FM sa Tandag City Surigao del Sur kahapon. Kasalukyan pong tinutugis ng Surigao del Sur Police ang mga pinaghihinalaang pumaslang sa kanya at bumuo po ng special investigation task group ang PNP hinggil dito. Napagutusan na po ang PNP na gawin ang lahat ng nararapat para po matugis, mahuli at mapanagot ang mga pumaslang kay Ginoong Milo.”
(We condemn the murder of Mr Michael Milo, a broadcaster of Prime Radio FM in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur yesterday. The Surigao del Sur Police is currently chasing the suspects and the PNP has created a special task group for this. The PNP has been ordered to do everything to catch and hold those who killed Mr Milo accountable.) – with Agence France-Presse, Angela Casauay/Rappler.com