Journalist and anti-mining advocate slain in Palawan

Posted By: Chris On:

MANILA, Jan. 26, 2011—An environmental advocate and broadcast journalist who was very vocal against mining in Palawan was killed on January 24 after his morning radio broadcast.

Dr. Gerardo Ortega, also a veterinarian, was gunned down while in a store along national highway in Palawan City.

The slain journalist has been receiving death threats since his radio program “Ramatak” went on air in 2009 over DWAR, a local affiliate of Radyo Mo nationwide, Ortega’s daughter Mika claimed.

Ortega is the 142nd journalist killed since 1986, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. He was the third journalist murdered under the Aquino government.

Human rights advocates denounced the killing, even as they vowed to continue to fight against mining in Palawan.

Artiso Mandawa, Chairman of Ancestral Land Domain Watch Network of Palawan (ALDAW) said they are seeking justice for Ortega’s death.

“Ortega is a human rights and environmental advocate. For the past eleven months, he has been very vocal against mining; he also exposed bribery in the government especially in the endorsement of mining,” he said.

Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina national coordinator also lamented Ortega’s death, calling him “a comrade in the fight against mining and corruption in the government.”

“Palawan is struggling against mining now and a lot of individuals and groups come together to openly expose the issues of mining there. Ortega may have been killed to silence the struggle against mining, but the fight will not end as long as mining companies are scattered in the Last Frontier—we will relentlessly fight and claim our right for land and a secure environment,” Garganera said.

Meanwhile, a suspect named Marlon De Macata (a.k.a. Marvin Alcaraz) has been arrested and is now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation. (CBCPNews)

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