BY DABET CASTAÑEDA
Radioman Nilo Labares, 48, survived an attack by gunmen around 8:30 p.m., March 5, in Macasandig, Cagayan de Oro City.
Labares, chief reporter of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) – DxCC, was riding his Yamaha scooter when two men riding a red Honda XRM motorcycle shot him at the back. Labares had just finished his radio show that night and was on his way home. He was shot just a few meters from his home in Mandumol, Macasandig, Cagayan de Oro.
Nilo Labares at Maria Reyna Hospital in Cagayan De Oro City . (Photo by Dante Sudaria)
He has been declared safe by doctors of the Maria Reyna Hospital in CDO after one of his kidneys was removed because of severe damage.
Cagayan de Oro journalist Susan Palmes, in her email report to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), said Labares is known as a hard-hitting radio commentator who is active in denouncing illegal activities such as local cock fighting and video karera (computerized horse racing).
Radioman Nilo Labares. (Photo by Dante Sudaria)
His colleagues at RMN said Labares has been receiving threats through his mobile phone the last few weeks. In fact, Emel Iledo, Labares’ co-anchor, said a man believed to have been sent by a “powerful person” came to the RMN station last week to tell Labares “to stop his tirades against the operations of video karera” and asked the radioman how much it would take for him to do so.
In a statement, the NUJP condemned the attack and blamed the Macapagal-Arroyo government for its continued inaction and apathy on the attacks against media practitioners around the country. “The government has nurtured the culture of impunity that embodens those who wish to silence us,” said NUJP vice-chairperson Nonoy Espina.
“These continued attempts to silence the independent media, whether through physical assaults, government attempts at control or devious legislation are alarming symptoms of not just a general breakdown in law and order but, worse, of an increasing drift toward repression,” Espina said. (Dabet Panelo with reports from Susan Palmes and Dante Sudaria, Cagayan de Oro City)(Bulatlat.com)