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Broadcaster shot dead in Zamboanga del Sur

ZAMBOANGA - The fatal shooting of a radio broadcaster in Zamboanga del Sur is the second killing of a journalist in as many days in Mindanao, reinforcing the Philippines' image as one of the world's most dangerous for media workers, a media group said Monday.

Broadcaster Rudy Alicaway, the 47-year-old host of a weekly community affairs show on DXPB radio station, was killed in the town of Molave in Zamboanga del Sur on Sunday, a police report said.

Rocel Navarro, manager of the government-run station where the victim's show aired, said he had not covered controversial issues.

"We are asking ourselves why this happened to him. He had no enemies as a broadcaster," Navarro told AFP.

Alicaway and columnist Leo Diaz were the third and fourth journalists to be killed since President Rodrigo Duterte, a vocal critic of the press, took office last year, said Dabet Panelo, secretary-general of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

In both cases the victims were riding motorcycles when gunmen on another motorcycle came up behind and shot them dead.

Diaz, 60, a correspondent of Manila tabloid Balita and a columnist for a community newspaper, was killed in the southern town of President Quirino in Sultan Kudarat on Monday.

Diaz, a former policeman, had covered stories on political corruption, illegal gambling and drugs, said Fort Yerro, a Balita consultant. Yerro added that he did not know of any threats against Diaz.

Both killings took place in Mindanao, where Islamic militants, communist guerrillas and political warlords are active.

"This again highlights the culture of impunity, in the attacks against and killings of Filipino journalists that have remained unabated despite an international outcry," the NUJP said.

Last Thursday former BusinessWorld editor Michael Marasigan and his brother Christopher were shot dead in San Juan City.

A study by the International Federation of Journalists said last year that 146 journalists were killed between 1990 and 2015, making the Philippines the second most dangerous country for the media after Iraq.

Duterte, who took office last year, has lashed out at journalists over critical coverage of his anti-drug war that has claimed thousands of lives.

Shortly before taking office, Duterte made comments widely interpreted as justifying the murder of some journalists.

"Just because you're a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you're a son of a bitch," he said. — Agence France-Presse