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NEW FM STATION IN KALINGA TO BENEFIT IP – SY EGCO

Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco welcomed the launch of DWPF 92.1 Gimpong FM Station in Tabuk City in Kalinga as a testament to the relentless efforts of the government in bringing vital information to the Indigenous Peoples (IP) in remote areas.

During the inauguration of the radio station in Tabuk City recently, Sy Egco stressed the need to replicate the project in all IP communities from “Luzon to Mindanao.”

He emphasized the importance of information in modern society and that DWPF 92.10 Gimpong under Radyo Pilipinas of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) is a step in the right direction to allow IPs in the region to be heard and to safeguard their press freedom.

“It is only through information can we truly understand our people, the journeys we take, the lessons we learn, and the families and kinship ties we nourish.”

“It is only through information can we truly understand our people, the journeys we take, the lessons we learn, and the families and kinship ties we nourish,” Sy Egco stressed.

“Indeed, through DWPF 92.10 Gimpong FM Station, you can now be heard. To the broadcasters and journalists who will take the helm of this historic radio station, yours is a truly amazing task ahead,” he added.

The operationalization of the radio station through the assistance of Kalinga Lone District Representative Allen Jesse Mangaoang, chairman of the House Committee on Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous People, will give voice to the Gimpong or the IPs of the Cordillera that will resonate across Kalinga to the Cordilleras and into the hearts and minds of its inhabitants, Sy Egco pointed out.

“In bringing to life to this radio station, our government’s objectives are simple: to inform, to educate, to transform, to exude life.”

“In bringing to life to this radio station, our government’s objectives are simple: to inform, to educate, to transform, to exude life,” he added.

Local officials of the Cordillera and Cagayan regions, local media, and Gimpongs came to witness the formal operationalization of the station.

Sy Egco also echoed the call of thousands of media workers across the country for the passage of the proposed Media Workers Welfare Act (MWWA), a bill that seeks to uplift the economic welfare of media practitioners. It has already been approved unanimously by the House of Representatives since 2020 and has been pending approval for a long time in the Senate.

Principally authored by Rep. Niña Taduran of ACT-CIS Party list, the bill intends to grant media workers with hazard pay, a living wage, employment security, safety equipment, plus additional insurance and hospitalization benefits. The PTFoMS actively participated in crafting the bill and is lobbying for its passage in Congress.

PTFoMS was created by President Rodrigo Duterte by virtue of Administrative Order No. 1 on Oct. 11, 2016 with a mandate to safeguard press freedom by protecting the life, liberty and security of media workers in the country.

Sy Egco said since its creation, the PTFoMS has worked tirelessly to make the country a safer place for media workers.

Chaired by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra and co-chaired by PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar, the task force has been instrumental in bringing to justice all those who imperil the safety and security of journalists.

“PTFoMS was precisely created by President Duterte to bring to an end the seemingly endless violence brought upon our media workers in the past administrations. Slowly but surely, we have come out of the proverbial wilderness,” Sy Egco stressed.

By 2018, the Reporters without Borders or RSF, an international media watchdog, finally removed the Philippines from its list of Top 5 most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.

In 2019, the Philippines became a beacon of hope for press freedom by giving justice to the 31 media workers who were among those slain in the infamous Ampatuan Massacre when a court convicted 43 individuals including the masterminds behind one of the darkest moments in the country’s history.

In 2020, the country was declared as the biggest mover in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ or CPJ’s Global Impunity Index (GII), noting that the Philippines was the most improved country in its 2020’s rankings. The Philippines is also not included in CPJ’s list of “World’s Worst Places to Be a Journalist” or “10 Most Censored Countries”.

In 2021, with a dedicated mandate to resolve media killings in the country, the PTFoMS oversaw the investigation of the 51st media killing case that resulted in a guilty verdict, bringing to 68 the total number of convictions.

In the RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index, the country’s ranking for the past five years also remained better than during past administrations.

Despite the pandemic, the Philippine media remains free, colorful and vibrant as ever, said Sy Egco.

Meanwhile, Sy Egco, as the spokesperson for Media Engagement and Fact-Checking of the of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), underlined the significance of the Barangay Development Projects under the NTF ELCAC.

“This project has brought progress across the country by addressing peace and order, ensuring food security and providing livelihood while putting up massive infrastructures through the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. Truly, President Duterte’s ‘Tapang at Malasakit’ theme in governance is the embodiment of the whole-of-nation approach that now characterizes the way the government has effectively dealt with important social issues through unified effort,” he said.

Through entities such as the PTFoMS, the NTF-ELCAC, and the operationalization of DWPF 92.10 Gimpong FM Station through the PCOO, much has been accomplished by Duterte, and his programs will serve as legacies that will continue to benefit and enrich the lives of every Filipino for years to come.

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