ACTING on the instruction of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police chief, General Dionardo B. Carlos has ordered the assignment of police focal persons to help provide security for members of the press who may face threats or intimidation in the course of the 2022 national and local elections.
“The PNP finds it timely and relevant to designate focal persons purposely for media security, ayon na rin sa kautusan ng DILG. Our PNP Chief has high regards sa trabaho at sacrifices ng ating media partners. The job will be more challenging sa pagco-cover ng election,” said PNP spokesperson, Colonel Roderick Augustus B. Alba.
The official said the PNP focal persons for media security would coordinate with the Presidential Task Force on Media Security.
“Sila ang magiging takbuhan ng ating media practitioners kung may mga threat o intimidation that relates to the performance of their profession,” Col. Alba said.
Also a former PNP spokesman, Gen. Carlos has been consistent in condemning all forms of violence and intimidation aimed against the Philippine media, thus the need to designate media security focal persons in each province and city nationwide during the election period.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año earlier wrote a memorandum to Gen. Carlos calling for heightened security for the press in anticipation of a possible increase in media-related violence during the election period.
“The infamous massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao in November 2009 is a constant reminder that media workers are most vulnerable a few months before, during, and a few months after every election,” said DILG Undersecretary and spokesman, Jonathan Malaya.
He said that the DILG and the PTFoMS headed by Usec. Joel Egco is particularly concerned over the fact that the problem of media killings and other acts of violence against members of the media are “directly related to the geopolitical environment.”
Based on the memorandum, the PNP is directed to designate a PNP focal person for media security who will be the first to receive information and respond to any threats leveled against a media worker and shall also directly coordinate with assigned Special Agents (SAs) of the PTFoMS and assist the Task Force in expediting the resolution of cases of violence against journalists.
“As government officials, we have a sworn duty to protect our countrymen against all forms of violence, especially journalists who are in the frontlines to provide news and information to the public. As the President has stated time and again, this government does not and will not condone any form of violence against media people,” Malaya said.
The Ampatuan Massacre of 2009 claimed the lives of 58 individuals, including 32 media workers. Considered to be the worst attack against journalists in the world, the incident placed the country among the worst places for journalists in 2009.