Broadcaster in Cotabato City receives death threat

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A Cotabato City radio broadcaster has received reports death threats from yet unidentified sources. Vern Simon, 42, a reporter of the Catholic Church-run radio station dxMS and vice chair of NUJP-Cotabato City chapter, said the threat was relayed to him by friends.

Simon anchors the daily editorial program of the radio station Punto’t Opinyon. He said he has been hearing about the threat to his life since May 16 this year but only took it seriously when it was confirmed by friends in the military and police intelligence community.

Simon reported that the latest threat relayed to him came on Wednesday June 1. He said that at around 7:15 pm on that day, several men who introduced themselves as members of the intelligence unit of the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MLBT) went to the dxMS office to look for Simon, who was out of the office then. The men, claiming to be under a certain Capt. Rey Torres of MLBT-7, said Simon was under threat.

Informed of the MLBT-7’s visit, Simon called MBLT-7 Commanding Officer Doroteo Jose Jalandoni. Jalandoni confirmed that his unit has received word that there was an eminent threat to kill him and promised to provide him full security.

Simon also reported that Cotabato City councilor Willy Bueno also called him up to warn him to keep vigil as he also received similar information from his “sources”.

Simon clarified that while the threats were relayed to him, he has yet to receive directly any threat as of this writing.

Edwin Fernandez, station manager of the Notre Dame Broadcasting Corporation-owned dxMS, said the management has already instituted safety measures in response to the threats on Simon. Fernandez said threats on local journalists covering local issues is not uncommon and said Cotabato City is particularly known as a haven of guns-for-hire.

Fernandez said they have also instructed other reporters of the station to change their daily routines. Fernandez said they will be formally reporting the threat to local authorities.

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