( Reuters ) - Two gunmen riding motorcycles shot dead a radio journalist in the southern Philippines on Monday, the fifth reporter to be killed this year in the country.
Ferdie Lintuan was driving in Davao City along with two other radio reporters when the men drove up beside the vehicle and fired at him around 9:50 a.m. (8:50 p.m. EST) on Christmas Eve.
"I pretended to be dead. I was at the front passenger seat. The car window beside me was also hit," Lucio Ceniza, a passenger in the car, told local media.
The Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world to work as a journalist. Since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was swept into power in 2001, 54 reporters have been killed.
Investigative stories about drug trafficking, gambling and other illegal activities may put reporters' lives at risk.
So also does corruption within the media, with underpaid journalists sometimes taking bribes to report stories, putting them in danger from disgruntled paymasters or their rivals.
Under fire for its failure to protect reporters and hundreds of leftwing activists killed over the past six years, the government vowed to hunt Lintuan's murderers.
"The government will not allow this criminal act to go unpunished," said a statement from the presidential palace.