Tension grips town of Bukidnon as mayor shuts down radio station

Mayor Melino Buro of the city of Damulog claims the radio station was operating illegally and defied several decrees he issued in January

BUKIDNON, Philippines – Tension gripped a town in Bukidnon after a mayor ordered a radio station shut down, then led a group to seize its transmitter and other equipment on Friday, February 11 .

Mayor Melino Buro of the city of Damulog said the radio station, Big FM, was operating illegally and defied several decrees he issued in January.

Buro led a group in the seizure of Big FM equipment on Friday, but tension began when Ric John Rom’s brother, one of the owners, arrived and confronted authorities.

A video that went viral showed Rom’s brother nearly ramming the mayor’s group with his vehicle. The furious man quit, shouting and accusing the mayor of not following due process.

Buro is seeking re-election, while Rom is running for city council as an independent candidate.

The radio station criticized the mayor.

Buro said the radio station was operating in the city without a license, therefore, he issued EOs on January 14 and 31.

First, Buro ordered the temporary closure of the radio station for failing to provide the documents required by the town hall, with a warning that her equipment would be confiscated if she challenged.

Buro then released a third EO on January 31, ordering the radio station to cease operations within five days.

Rom told Radyo Ukay-Valencia that the seizure of his radio station’s equipment was questionable, saying the mayor did not have a court order and abused his authority.

He threatened to sue Buro and his group.

The radio station is a subsidiary of the Amapola Broadcast System which has applied for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Provisional Authority with the National Telecommunications Administration (NTC).

“I’m just waiting for the CNT’s decision, which should be out soon. But now Buro has taken away my broadcast equipment,” Rom said. – Rappler.com

Grace Cantal-Albasin is a Mindanao-based journalist and recipient of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.

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