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Third journalist killed in a week in Philippines

Nestor Dedolido was pronounced dead upon arrival at a hospital after two men on a motorcycle shot him outside a bar he owned

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Manila: Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a 50-year-old newspaper reporter in the southern Philippines at the weekend, the third journalist slain in just a week, police said on Sunday.

Nestor Dedolido was pronounced dead upon arrival at a hospital after two men on a motorcycle shot him at close range outside a bar he owned in the southern city of Digos Saturday night, police said in an incident report.

Dedolido was a reporter for Kastigador, a weekly allegedly financed by a group of politicians and his death may have been related to his work, police said.

"I believe the killing of my father is politically motivated. There is a politician involved," Dedolido's son, Marxlen Dedolido, 22, told reporters without elaborating.

Dedolido was the third journalist killed in just a week in the Philippines, considered by media watchdogs as one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.

Broadcaster Desidario Camangyan, 52, became this week's first victim when he was shot dead by a gunman who walked onstage as the victim hosted a village singing contest in the southern Philippines on Monday.

A day later, Lito Agustin, 37, also a radio reporter, was ambushed and shot dead as he rode a motorcycle home.

Both men were known as outspoken critics of corrupt local officials in their respective areas.

Dedolido's killing brings to 140 the number of journalists killed in the Philippines since 1986, the year a popular revolt ended the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship and restored press freedom.

Last year was the bloodiest, with 32 journalists among 57 people killed in a massacre blamed on a political warlord in the southern Philippines, press monitoring groups said.

A gun culture, a free-wheeling press and massive corruption are some of the factors that make the Southeast Asian nation dangerous for journalists.

Criminal gangs, politicians and other powerful interests typically murder journalists to silence them and intimidate other media workers.