Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director Joel Sy Egco lauded the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the generally peaceful media environment during the last midterm elections.
“Very few cases of media violence were recorded in the last political exercise. Historically, the exact opposite is the norm. We assumed that the peace and order situation for the last polls will not be any different from past elections,” Sy Egco said.
“Very few cases of media violence were recorded in the last political exercise.”
“But because of the proactive measures we took with the help of the PNP, there was hardly any major media violence case that happened. We commend the PNP and its leadership, as without their vigilance and dedication, this would not have been at all possible,” the PTFoMs chief added.
Sy Egco said one of the measures taken by the PTFoMS was a request to PNP chief Oscar Albayalde to put all PNP units on heightened alert nationwide from May 10 to 15 to prevent violence on media workers “who are either running for office or covering the elections”.
He said the local PNP units have been required to regularly apprise the PTFoMS “on cases of media violence or even the absence thereof.”
Based on PTFoMS records, there were only three incidents where the intervention of the Task Force was sought in the recent national and local elections.
“There were only three instances when the intervention of the task force has been sought.”
The task force received a report about a photographer of a major daily who was reportedly mobbed by supporters of a mayoral candidate after he took pictures on their alleged vote-buying activities.
The memory card of the media worker’s camera was forcibly taken, prompting the PTFoMS to immediately order an investigation.
The task force also coordinated with the PNP for the extension of security detail on a group of five journalists who felt they were in a “dangerous situation” while covering the elections in a certain province.
It addition, the task force also acted on a complaint by a GMA network stringer who said unidentified men wearing jackets and riding a motorcycle passed by along the highway and uttered to him in the vernacular the words “GMA patay ka na! Lumayas ka na!’ (GMA your dead already, go away) while showing gesture of slashing his neck.
Sy Egco said the task force also immediately contacted the provincial police director in the area and “he responded quickly.”
“The task force continues to closely monitor cases of media violence and is committed to fulfill its mandate to protect the life, liberty and security of media workers 24/7,” he stressed.