COTABATO CITY: The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) has vowed to act immediately on the recent killings of two Mindanao journalists.
The PTFoMS on Tuesday said it “deeply mourns and condemns in the strongest possible terms” the killing of reporter and Sapol News Bulletin columnist Leodoro Diaz and Rudy Dahunan Alicaway,106.9 DXPB Radyo ng Bayanas anchorman.
PTFoMS Executive Director and Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco received the urgent instructions from Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, co-chairman of the task force.
Egco, who used to be The Manila Times assignments editor and chief of reporters, said in an interview that he immediately coordinated with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Regions 12 and 9 to help solve the killings of Diaz and Alicaway.
Diaz was killed on Monday in Barangay Kalanawi, President Quirino municipality in Sultan Kudarat in Region 12 or SoCCSKSarGen, which has the record of having the most number of media killings in the country.
Diaz’s murder is number 14 on the list in Region 12.
Aside from being a columnist of a local tabloid, he was also a reporter of Radio Mindanao Network.
Alicaway, 46, was shot by gunmen riding tandem in Sitio Lopez, Barangay Culo, Molave municipality in Zamboanga del Sur on Sunday.
Alicaway was also a barangay (village) councilman in Miligan, Molave municipality.
His death, is also number 14 on the list of Region 9 or the Zamboanga Peninsula.
The killings of the journalists happened even as the whole of Mindanao is still under martial law.
Their deaths, if work-related, bring to 177 the total number of Filipino media workers killed since 1986.
Egco said he immediately called Police Supt. Eder Collantes of the Philippine National Police Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management Task Force Usig to come up with strategies on how to speed up the investigation of the two cases.
If it is proven that the attacks on Diaz and Alicaway were work-related, this would be the second and third cases of media worker killings that will fall under the mandate of the PTFoMS in relation to Administrative Order (AO) 1 of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The President signed AO 1 mandating the protection of the life, liberty and security of media workers and their families.
Under AO 1 guidelines, there is a one-strike policy against concerned officials under whose jurisdiction a media killing happens, to wit:
Article 1, Definition of Terms, No. 24 or One-Strike Policy– the administrative relief or other punitive actions against Local PTFoMS Council members who shall fail to meet the full implementation of the strategic plan (StratPlan) by reason of misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, and other violations is punishable under existing rules.
This Local PTFoMS Council is headed by the provincial/city prosecutor as the chairman and PNP provincial/district/city director as co-chairman in each province/city composed of members from various government and media groups or agencies.
Their task is to formulate a StratPlan on how to fulfill the mandate of AO 1 in their respective areas of responsibility.
The PTFoMS officials said they will strictly monitor the progress of the investigations and provide legal assistance, if necessary.