The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova today voiced grave concern over the shooting of newspaper editor Vergel Bico and radio journalist Fernando Solijon in the Philippines and urged the authorities to investigate these crimes.
“I condemn the killing of Vergel Bico and Fernando Solijon,” the Director-General said. “These two killings bring to five the number of Philippine journalists assassinated since July. I urge the authorities to take action to bring the culprits of these crimes to justice.”
Fernando "Nanding" Solijon—who hosted a daily programme DxLS Love Radio in Iligan City, a town in northern Mindanao—was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle while walking to his car on the evening of 29 August.
Vergel Bico, an editor for weekly newspaper Kalahi, was shot dead on 4 September as he was riding his motorcycle in Calapan City, some 120 km south of Manila.
Three other journalists have been killed in the Philippines since July. Mario Sy, Bonifacio Loreto and Richard Kho. They are remembered alongside Solijon and Bico on the dedicated web page listing all of UNESCO’s condemnations of attacks on media professionals.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12
UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”