Radio station bombing linked to illegal numbers game

Source: CMFR

Unidentified men threw homemade explosives at a government-run radio station in Tabuk City in Kalinga province on 24 May 2011. The attack is believed to be in retaliation for the station’s reports and commentaries on the proliferation of the illegal numbers game known as “jueteng” in the province. Kalinga is a province approximately 317 km north of Manila.

At around 1 a.m. (local time) last 24 May 2011, three unidentified men riding in a van threw four gasoline-filled plastic containers at the radio station compound. Three of the four explosives exploded and caused a fire which the guards on duty and the station technician managed to put out before it spread.

The Tabuk police have yet to identify any suspects.

Jerome Tabanganay, local radio broadcaster of dzRK Radyo ng Bayan (The Nation’s Radio) told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) in a 27 May 2011 interview that the men may have intended to destroy the radio’s office and equipment to stop its reports on “jueteng” operations. Although illegal, “jueteng” is popular in many Philippine communities and is usually run by local operators.

“They wanted to silence us,” Tabanganay said.

“Jueteng” operations in the province allegedly resumed on 22 May 2011, two days before the attack on the radio station. Tabanganay and the radio station started airing reports and commentaries on it on Monday, 23 May 2011.

Tabanganay has been criticizing the police and other local authorities for the resumption of the illegal numbers game in his news and commentary program “Agenda” which is aired twice daily (6 – 7 a.m. and 1 – 2 p.m. local time).

This is the second attack on the dzRK Radyo ng Bayan and their employees.

Five days after the May 2010 polls, a gunman chased Jerome Tabanganay inside the radio station compound and shot him four times in the legs. Tabanganay had been receiving death threats since he began criticizing local politicians. The alleged gunman in that incident is facing a frustrated murder case at a local court. Hearings will begin in June 2011.

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CMFR (http://www.cmfr-phil.org/) is a SEAPA founding member based in Manila, the Philippines, working to promote ethical journalism and to protect press freedom.

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