Baguio journo survives shooting

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – On March 1, Aldwin Quitasol, Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club President and Daily Tribune Correspondent, survived an attempt on his life while walking home in Quezon Hill, Baguio City. Baguio City is approximately 206 kilometers north of Manila.

At around 10:00 PM, Quitasol was walking in a dimly-lit area when unidentified assailants on a motorcycle fired at him, but he dropped to the ground and the assailants drove away.

Quitasol filed a formal complaint the next day with Baguio City Police. 

Usec. Joel Sy Egco, Executive Director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), said in a press statement that PTFoMS and the local police are investigating the incident.

Before this, Quitasol had been vocal in his opposition to state-led media interrogations as he was previously asked by police and military to participate in “dialogues.” 

Earlier this January, Baguio City Police asked Quitasol to attend a “dialogue” that turned out to be part of the police and military Community Support Program White Area Operation (CSP-WAO). This is a component of the government’s Oplan Kapayapaan targeting alleged sympathizers of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).

Last year, police and military personnel also talked to Quitasol to participate in the state’s “Dumanon Makitungtong” (Come and Talk) campaign. This was weeks after the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (RLECC) passed the “tokhang-like” resolution against “leftist personalities” that are alleged fronts of the communist groups—another effort to red-tag civilians.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Baguio –Benguet Chapter, the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club Inc (BCBC), and the Kordilyera Media-Citizen Council (KMCC) condemned the attack on Quitasol. They added that it was an attack on all media workers and said that in Cordillera alone, 15 cases of red-tagging were logged in 2021, compared to eight complaints filed in 2020.