The National Press Club (NPC) on Saturday urged the government to give the media a concrete role in the task force recently formed to investigate the killings of journalists.
NPC Vice President Benny Antiporda made the call following the signing by President Rodrigo Duterte of an Administrative Order creating the task force on media killings.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said representatives from media organizations will be tapped by the task force as resource persons or observers.
“Medyo mahirap po ito pero ang atin, mananawagan po tayo especially kay Secretary Martin Andanar na ireconsider ito at bigyan ng talagang konkretong responsibilidad ang ating mga kapatid sa media [This would be very hard, but we are appealing especially to Secretary Martin Andanar to reconsider this and give concrete functions to our fellow media workers],” Antiporda said in a news forum.
“I’m happy to say that we’re also given a chance to be observers—the National Press Club was given a chance to be an observer in the task force, but sad to say that [we]are not members,” he said.
Antiporda clarified that he is not underestimating the members of the task force from the government, but said that it should also be composed of people who have more impetus to focus on the subjects of the probes.
“What we are trying to say here is it will be better if it is composed of people who are really concerned on the issue of media killings. So sino yan? Mga [So who are these people? The] media,” he said.
“Alam naman natin kung sino ang binabatikos ng mga media. Ito ay ang mga government officials. So alam natin na medyo may lamat o sugat na iniiwan ang mga mamamahayag tuwing nababatikos ang mga opisyal lalo na kung hindi tama sa kanyang panlasa ang sinulat mo [We all know who are being criticized by the media. The government officials. As such, we know that journalists somehow leave wounds every time they criticize officials, especially if these officials don’t like what is written],” he added.
“The NPC is [also]calling for all the members of the media—that it is about time that we police our own ranks. Na disiplinahin naman natin ang ating sarili [That we start to discipline ourselves]. What is really expected here is lahat magkakaroon ng trabaho dito, hindi bilang resource persons lamang [everyone must have their own functions, not just as resource persons],” he noted.
Duterte signed on Tuesday Administrative Order no. 1 creating the “Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media.”
“The task force is given the duty of ensuring a safe environment for media workers,” Andanar said, quoting the AO.
The Presidential task force will be composed of Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd as chairman, Andanar as co-chairman and the secretaries of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of National Defense, the Solicitor General, Executive Director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Director General of the Philippine National Police, and Director of the National Bureau of Investigation as members.
The pool of media resource persons, meanwhile, will be comprised of leaders of the NPC, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, Publishers Association of the Philippines, Incorporated and Philippine Press Institute.