TARLAC: Despite threats against media workers, the Duterte administration assured that Filipino journalists would remain safe in the pursuit of their profession.
In the recent regional presentation, Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Undersecretary Joel Egco said his office will guard journalists against any form of harm – physical, emotional, or psychological.
PTFoMS was formed in line with the first administrative order issued by President Rodrigo Duterte following his assumption to office last year.
According to Egco, the government is fully aware that reporters are vulnerable to risks as they write stories in the light of exposing the truth and lay information the people need.
“Knowing that in exposing the truth, certain personalities could be hardly hit. The task force is your guide and it will protect you, media workers, as you do your job,” he said.
Egco added that the PTFoMS is tasked to fast-track resolution of either disputes within the media community itself or the numerous cases filed against media practitioners.
During the first nine months of Duterte, a number of cases have been recorded and handled by the task force involving threats, harassment, and physical assault against journalists.
Death threats are immediately investigated and if needed, police protection and legal assistance are given to those who report them.
Egco said the task force aims to prevent media killings through its various proactive measures lined up in the organization’s operational guidelines.
“Unlike in the past when government only comes in after the fact or when a media worker had been killed, we are now mandated under Administrative Order No. 1 to act promptly on the first signs of trouble, as soon as a complaint reaches us,” said Egco, former president of the National Press Club.
“Our aim is to make the Philippines the safest place for journalists in the world,” Egco said in the wake of reports that the country is one of the most dangerous work places for journalists in the last 25 years.