DAVAO CITY – Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Undersecretary Joel Egco on Monday assured that government will leave no stone unturned in making the Philippines safer and a much better place for international and local journalists.
“Failure is not an option in this government’s effort,” Egco said during the 1st National Information Convention (NIC) plenary session entitled “Knowing and Understanding Media” at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang here.
In October 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Administrative Order No. 1 creating PTFoMS to address media killings and harassments which made the country one of the world’s most dangerous places for media in the past.
Egco said the PTFoMS Protocols handbook has been published containing sets of specific timelines and action plans designed to institutionalize the best practices in global media security for adoption in the Philippines’ unique media environment.
“Copies of these protocol handbook will be printed and distributed to our media members nationwide,” he told the over 1,500 participants of the country’s first NIC themed “Spurring Development and Empowering Communities through Information.”
“With all these safety measures effectively in place, there is no reason for us to remain on the danger list,” Egco said.
He said the vision of PTFoMS is to solve all cases of media killings and harassments by 2020.
“In fact, we are the only country in the world with a clear positive response to the global clamor to protect media workers,” he said.
The Philippines is currently No. 5 in the CPJ’s Global Impunity Index but the PTFoMS official said the Philippines should be out by 2020 although he added “this may be doable by 2018 or 2019.”
He said the Task Force will provide data for Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) and other international watchdogs through official diplomatic channels.
“Our data are factual, substantiated, backed-up by evidence and properly contextualized. We don’t rely on news reports,” Egco said.
With the invaluable support from Office of the President, media partners and other stakeholders, Egco has expressed optimism that making the country a safer place for media will be achieved under Duterte administration.
“There is no way we cannot achieve our vision of making the Philippines freer, safer and a much better place for both foreign and local journalists.” (PNA)