Journalists harassed, threatened by armed men while covering demolition
March 13, 2024

Photo from the video of K5 News FM Olongapo Digital News


MANILA – An Olongapo-based journalist went missing while covering a violent demolition in sitio Balubad, barangay Anunas, Angeles City in Pampanga, March 12.

According to initial reports from fellow journalists on the ground, K5 News Olongapo reporter Rowena “Weng” Quejada was covering the residents of barangay Anunas as they defended the 73-hectare of land being claimed by Clarkhills Properties Corporation when she was confronted by armed members of the demolition team.

In an alert posted by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Quejada went missing around 12 noon, prompting the NUJP Olongapo chapter to appeal to the Angeles City police to help locate her.

She was eventually found almost four hours later, hiding in one of the residents’ houses.

When NUJP was able to get in touch with her, Quejada said that at least 12 men, all with guns and wearing bonnets, forced their way inside the gates during the demolition. One of the men pointed a gun at Quejada and told her to stop taking videos. The armed men proceeded to forcibly take Quejada’s cellphone and bag, including all her IDs and her wallet which contained cash.

A Japanese national, who was also a resident in the area, saw the commotion and helped Quejada, hiding her inside his home until the tension outside abated.

During the same time, another NUJP member and Rappler Luzon reporter Joann Manabat was also harassed by the armed men. Manabat said that she was also warned to stop taking videos, or else they would shoot her and have her cellphone confiscated.

Quejada told the NUJP that it took the Angeles police at least an hour before responding to the area. Authorities confirmed that the armed men were hired by Clarkhills Properties Corporation.

At least seven individuals suffered gunshot wounds and were rushed to the Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center in Angeles City. (RVO)


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