Rappler's Bacolod correspondent tailed by 'suspicious' man

MANILA, Philippines – A Bacolod City-based journalist pursuing stories related to the killings in Negros Oriental reported being followed by a "suspicious" man riding a motorcycle on Sunday, August 4.

Marchel Espina, the chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Bacolod and a correspondent for Rappler, said she was alerted by the driver of her rental car that a motorcycle was tailing them as they were returning from Canlaon City.

She said the motorcycle followed them for almost 18 kilometers, from Biaknabato to Taburda in La Castellana town.

The rider was of medium build and wore a bonnet that concealed his face. He also wore a black jacket and pants, and had a backpack.

The driver of the rental car, as quoted by Espina, said he "blocked an attempt by the rider to overtake their vehicle and drove as fast as he could until they finally lost the tail."

The incident comes amid the continuing violence in Negros Oriental. At least 21 people were killed from July 18 to 27, including a lawyer, local government officials, and a one-year-old boy. (READ: Death comes unprovoked upon Negros Island)

Four Catholic bishops in Negros Island have condemned the killings and called on parishes to toll their bells every 8 pm until the murders stop.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte "will use his emergency powers under the Constitution to quell the lawless violence engulfing the island, as well as to crush all forms of threats aimed to destroy the government." (READ: Monitoring Negros: What rulings say about NPA and martial law)

Vice President Leni Robredo, however, warned against declaring martial law as a solution to the killings in Negros Oriental.

Various groups also called for independent investigations into the human rights situation in the province. (READ: Groups seek unity, action to help end killings in Negros Island) – Rappler.com