The National Press Club of the Philippines, the country’s biggest media organization, welcomed the directive of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to assign police personnel as focal persons for media security.
Based on the DILG memorandum signed by Secretary Eduardo M. Año, the Philippine National Police is directed to designate a focal person for media security who will receive information and respond to any threats leveled against a media worker or any member of the press.
The focal person shall directly coordinate with assigned Special Agents of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) in expediting the investigation and resolution of cases of violence, threats, and acts of intimidation against journalists.
“We would like to express our gratitude to DILG Secretary Eduardo Año for responding to the call for the protection of media practitioners, especially in the provinces, coming as it did when the country is to hold its national elections this May and where, based on experience, threats, intimidation and violence against members of the press are usually on the rise,” NPC President Paul M. Gutierrez said in a news release on Thursday.
“We also appreciate the effort of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security for its initiative in raising this matter with the DILG. Giving added protection to journalists, especially during the election season has long been a joint campaign by the NPC and the PTFoMS,” he added.
Gutierrez further noted the importance of the DILG directive that came out just a day after another former radio commentator who decided to run for an elective post was shot and killed in Tacurong City on Wednesday.
The victim, identified as Jaynard Angeles, 36, of Barangay Matiompong in Lambayong town, Sultan Kudarat province and former station manager of ‘Radyo ni Juan’ FM station, died from a gunshot wound to the head.
“We at the National Press Club support the efforts of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the PTFoMS to look into the root of this latest incident as we look forward to the implementation of the DILG order,” Gutierrez said.
“We reiterate, however, that there is no better protection against attacks and threats than the practice of fair, ethical, and responsible journalism as enunciated in the Journalist Code of Ethics,” he added.
Moving forward, Gutierrez urged all NPC-recognized media groups in the country as well as other media organizations to initiate a dialog with the police and DILG officials in their localities for the effective implementation of Año’s directive.
Source: Philippines News Agency