January 25, 2011 by USA Post 

Abs Cbn News, Project Manager Juan Ortega ABS-CBN Bayan Ni, he had to ask friends to buy him a plane ticket to Manila where he was enrolled in a nursing school in Puerto Princesa City in 2006 so that can attend the rest of his murdered friend, broadcaster Fernando “Dong” Batul.

Gerardo Ortega, 47, a veterinarian popularly called “Doc Gerry” had no idea when he became the second victim of the media in the province of Palawan, in recent years to succumb to a climate increasingly intolerant of hatred and revenge in the region.

Just after his radio show Monday morning, Ortega was engaged in his favorite hobby-trade-hunting for apparel used in a small shop along the main road town when he was shot at close range.

“This will have a chilling effect on media Palawan. The message that assassinating Dr. Ortega tells us that we should stop being critical issues that surround us,” said Damian Lacasa, Chairman of the Palawan Press Club.

Ortega had dominated the local airwaves with his daily radio program “Ramatak” and scathing commentary on the graft and corruption in local government, mining projects and government figures he identified with mining interests.

Ortega cut advocacy through two of his personal beliefs and his day job as project manager of the provincial project ABS-CBN Bayan Ni Juan ecotourism development.

A day before he was killed, he met with ABS-CBN top honcho Gina Lopez and Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn to draw an anti-mining.

“It will be an intensive information campaign three months to raise awareness about the dangers of mining. We will not only focus on Palawan that our public will also be a national information campaign,” Ortega later told the Inquirer.

Ortega was a former member of the provincial council and earned a reputation as a maverick politician identified with civil society causes such as environmental protection and the fight against corruption.

At one point, he ran for governor, losing but making a decent showing while having a meager P200, 000 from his personal pocket.

As a commentator, he took his dead friend questions Batul married.

Ortega was the station manager in the radio station where Batul worked. Previously he was head of the Crocodile Farm, a rescue center for wildlife and a tourist attraction, where Batul was an information officer.

“It’s better here,” Ortega said of his radio work.

“Before, I only had the chance to talk about issues once a week during the hours of privilege of the provincial commission. Now I get to give a speech lien on a daily basis, “he once told this reporter.

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