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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Three die in Philippines attacks
By Sarah Toms
BBC News, Manila

Map of the Philippines, showing Manila, Kalinga and Bicol
Attacks on the media are becoming more widespread
A newspaper photographer and two left-wing activists have been killed in three separate shootings, police in the Philippines confirmed on Monday.

Photojournalist Vic Melendrez was walking down an alley outside his house in Manila when three gunmen shot him.

He is the ninth journalist to be killed in the Philippines this year.

The south-east Asian country has become one of the most dangerous in the world for the media to operate in, according to International press groups.

Police say they are still verifying the motive for the shooting but that it could be personal.

Missing or murdered

In other killings on Monday, a left-wing student leader in the central region of Bicol and a community organiser in the northern province of Kalinga were shot by unidentified gunmen.

Nearly 1,000 left-wing activists, community workers, lawyers and journalists have either gone missing or been murdered since President Gloria Arroyo came to power in 2001.

Her government has promised action, but has been criticised for failing to stop the attacks.

A spokesman for the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines said Mr Melendrez was the 46th journalist to be murdered since Mrs Arroyo became president.

Around 10 journalists were killed in 2005.

Most of the murders are related to investigations of corruption, narcotics and other illegal activities.

Despite the government's promises and cash rewards, only a handful of the murders have been solved by police.

Manila protest at reporter deaths
16 Aug 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Reforms key to Arroyo's new term
24 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Gloria Arroyo
06 May 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
21 Dec 03 |  Country profiles

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