Manila: A broadcast journalist was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding gunmen in southern Luzon on Monday, police said, adding he was the 29th journalist killed since President Benigno Aquino was elected in 2010.

Nilo Baculo, 67, left his office at dwIM Radyo Mindoro and was on his way home when two motorcycle riding gunmen shot him dead on Lalud Village in Calapan City, Mindoro Oriental before noon of Monday, Mindoro Oriental police chief Senior Superintendent Ronaldo said in a report that reached the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in suburban Quezon City.

Baculo was already dead when witnesses and authorities came to his rescue, said Ronaldo, adding that the killers were not arrested and a pursuit operation was immediately enforced after the incident.

The number of 29 journalists killed since Aquino became president does not yet include the 32 journalists who were killed in elections-related clashes between two political families in Maguindanao, southern Philippines in November 2009.

Baculo’s death was “a proof that things are not getting any better for journalists,” said Joel Sy Egco, president of the National Press Club.

“We call on President Aquino to pay more serious attention to the worsening case of journalist killings under his watch,” said Egco, adding, “At a rate of seven journalists killed per year since Aquino became president [in 2010], he can earn the ill-reputation of being the most dangerous president for journalists in the world.”

As of October last year, when there were only 23 cases of journalists killed (since 2010), policemen failed to identify or arrest suspected killers in more than one half of recorded cases; only seven cases were investigated, and four other cases were tried, but not yet concluded, said the Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).

“No mastermind has been tried in all the cases that underwent trial,” observed Luis Teodoro, former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communications.

Masterminds belong to the political elite, they have protection, and are not easily arrested or investigated, rights lawyers said.

Majority of killed journalists were hard-hitting critics of local government leaders who were allegedly engaged in corruption, election fraud, environment degradation, human rights violations, illegal lottery, illegal logging and illegal drugs.

Almost 200 journalists were killed since 1992, records showed. The number of political killings in the Philippines remain high because victims also include activists, government critics, and human rights lawyers.

The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) and the PCIJ have been monitoring media killings since 1986, after the ouster of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos (who ruled for 20 years) and the ascendance of Corazon Aquino to the presidency in 1986. She restored democratic institutions including press freedom.

But the number of journalists killed never ended since 1986. CMFR is the secretariat of the Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ), an umbrella of journalists groups such as the Philippine Press Institute, Association of Filipino Broadcasters (KBP), CMFR, and PCIJ. International groups such as the Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Asia, Reporters Without Borders, and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance have been monitoring media killings in the Philippines.