PTFoMS vows to uphold press freedom, media workers' protection

By Ferdinand Patinio

January 24, 2018, 8:47 pm

MANILA -- The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) on Wednesday vowed anew to uphold press freedom and protect members of the media from various threats.

“What we are signing today further cemented our commitment, the President’s commitment that he expressed in his first SONA (State of the Nation Address) that this government does not condone violence and oppression of media and the proof of that was when he appointed me in this very crucial position, very tiring, faced with very daunting tasks,” said Undersecretary and Executive Director of Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Jose Joel Egco during the signing of the operational guidelines of Administrative Order No. 1 (AO 1), that created the task force.

“And since then when our President signed AO1, hinayaan niya na po tayong magtrabaho. (He had let us work.) Hinayaan niya po tayo na gawin ang dapat gawin, ang nararapat gawin na naaayon sa desisyon ng lahat ng kasama po ng Task Force, (He allowed us to do what must be done. He allowed us to work based on the decision of the members of the Task Force.)” he added.

The PTFoMS official said that the operational guidelines would help the group on how to go about the cases involving media practitioners.

“The guidelines would dictate on how (the) task force will move in every situation including the filing of cases, the conduct of investigation and monitoring (of the cases) in courts,” Egco explained.

At the same time, he said that the group provided an avenue, where the government and the private sector, representing media groups were able to discuss important concerns.

“The Task Force has provided an avenue for government and the private partners in the media sector to sit down together and discuss issues of highest concern,” the government official added.

With this, Egco said that he understood the job of the media, as he was once a reporter.

“The job of media, is not to praise government but it does not mean that we’re enemies because we share a common objective which is to serve the people, we have a common objective to build a nation, to promote nationalism, so hindi po tayo magkakalaban (We are not enemies.),” he pointed out.

On the other hand, Alvin Murcia, director of the National Press Club (NPC) lauded the creation of the task force as an organization that would look after their safety.

“Protection ito sa media men. (This means protection for media men.) Pwedeng lumapit kung may threat sa buhay nila, pwede silang mag-imbestiga. (They can report if there is a threat to them. They can investigate.) (Mape)-preserve din nito ang press freedom, ang pag-practice ng ating profession (This will preserve press freedom. The practice of our profession) ,” he added.

The task force is headed by the Department of Justice, co-chaired by the Presidential Communications Operations Office, and Department of National; Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government, Office of the Solictor General, Presidential Human Rights Committee, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation, as members. (PNA)