RADIO STATION ATTACK. A bullet tears through the recording room of Bombo Radyo General Santos City after unidentified gunmen sprayed bullets on the radio station Wednesday evening. (Photo from Bombo Radyo Gensan Facebook Page)
GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Unidentified gunmen opened fire at a radio station here while on regular broadcast Wednesday evening, hitting a portion of the building but no one was reported injured.
Jonathan Macailing, station manager of dxES-Bombo Radyo here, said an undetermined number of suspects aboard a red pickup passed by the station along the Bula-Amao Road around 8:30 p.m. and fired several shots.
The incident happened as anchor Luna Bernard Bacalanmo was on-air for the station's "Zone Libre" program. Macailing said one of the bullets hit the radio station's main glass door and the glass window of its recording room.
Macailing said it was fortunate that none of their personnel was inside the recording room at that time, noting "the bullet's trajectory was directly at the level of a person sitting there."
"It was clearly a planned attack and meant to harass our personnel, and stop the station from tackling various critical issues," he said in his radio program Thursday morning.
Citing accounts from their security guards and personnel, Macailing said the suspects, who were positioned on the back seats, fired around eight to 10 times as the vehicle slowed down in front of their compound.
The security guards, along with the station's personnel, immediately dropped to the ground as safety precaution.
The vehicle, which was reportedly an "old model pickup," came from the direction of the Gensanville Subdivision in Barangay Bula and sped off towards the city proper after the incident.
At least six fired bullets, believed to be coming from .45-caliber and 9mm handguns, were recovered by responding police operatives inside the radio station compound about five meters from the main gate.
Capt. Brent Ian Salazar, acting Station 6 police chief, said they submitted the recovered slugs for ballistic examination.
"Our investigators are currently reviewing the CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras of the radio station, nearby checkpoints and establishments to establish the route of the suspects and their possible identities," he told reporters.
Salazar said he immediately deployed a patrol car and a team of personnel to secure the radio station "in case the suspects would attempt to return."
The radio station continued with its normal operations despite the attack, which Macailing believed was connected to their "hard-hitting" commentaries on issues about various illegal investment schemes in the area.
"We've been actually getting daily threats through our cellphone hotline numbers because of these," Macailing said.
In September last year, Macailing and the station's news director, Salvador Galano, were arrested in a supposed entrapment for allegedly trying to extort PHP5 million from Kapa founder, Pastor Joel Apolinario.
Macailing and Galano both denied the accusations, calling it a "set-up" in retaliation for their commentaries against Kapa and Apolinario.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier ordered the closure of Kapa, which had been stripped by the Securities and Exchange Commission of its registration for soliciting investments from the public in the guise of donations with a monthly return of 30 percent through a "Ponzi-like" scheme. (PNA)