To be a journalist here in the Philippines is to willingly dance with Death.
Think about this: the Philippines has been ranked as the second most dangerous place for journalists to work in.
And what country is at the top? Iraq. Where US troops are engaged in a protracted war with Islamic militants (as the US would like it). For all we know, these so-called "militants" are actually nationalists: freedom fighters who would fight to death just to rid of their country of foreign armies.
Many will concede that a war is raging in Iraq. But in the Philippines?
The philippine government is proud of its so-called adherence to democracy. But even the International Federation of Journalists (www.ifj.org) is questioning this pride.
See the report at http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=3055&Language=EN
Since the restoration of democracy in 1986, 66 journalists have been killed. Out of 66, only one murder has been solved by the Philippine police.
How can the Philippine government justify these deaths? That these deaths are actually evidences of a violently free press?
Just last year, when Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was elected and subsequently advocated a strong republic, 13 journalists were killed.
Thirteen journalists! That's more than the number of mediamen killed under the regime of military general Fidel V. Ramos.
It is almost safe to assume that a strong republic means a gagged press.