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Leftist rebel-turned-reporter killed in Philippine south

Elvis Ordaniza known for reporting on rampant drug trade, illegal gambling in troubled Zamboanga del Sur province

Leftist rebel-turned-reporter killed in Philippine south


By Roy Ramos

ZAMBOANGA CITY, the Philippines

A radio reporter in the Philippines’ troubled south who had returned to civilian life after membership in a communist insurgency has been shot dead.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said in a media release Wednesday that Elvis Ordaniza, known for his criticism of the rampant drug trade and illegal gambling in Zamboanga del Sur province, was killed at his home at around 8 p.m. (1200GMT).

The Sun Star Zamboanga reported Chief Inspector Orlyn Leyte, Pitogo town police chief, as saying that an initial investigation showed that Ordaniza, of local station dxWO Power 99 FM, had been preparing dinner for his family when a lone gunman shot him.

The New People's Army -- the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines -- has been waging one of Asia’s longest running insurgencies since March 1969, mainly in the poorest regions of the Philippines.

The conflict has claimed around 40,000 lives, including more than 3,000 in the last eight years alone, according to government figures.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, which began compiling records on journalism-related deaths in 1992, ranks the Philippines as the third most deadly country for journalists, after Syria and Iraq.

More than 77 members of press have lost their lives in the archipelago since 1992.

Last August, three journalists from local newspapers and radio stations were killed within a few days of each other.

Another international media watchdog, the London-based International News Safety Institute, has revealed that 14 journalists died on the job in 2013 alone, with some of the fatalities occurring due to natural disasters rather than violence.

In 2009, 34 journalists were among the 58 victims of a massacre in southern Maguindanao province resulting from election-related feud.

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