MANILA – Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director and Undersecretary Joel Egco led a team of special agents that left on Monday to conduct investigation in areas with highest cases of media killings including Maguindanao.

Aside from Maguindanao province, Egco and his team will also visit Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, two provinces that also have the most number of cases of media violence.

At least 58 people including 32 journalists and media workers were killed on Nov. 23, 2009 when gunmen attacked a convoy of Esmael ‘Toto’ Manguddatu’s members and supporters while on their way to Ampatuan, Maguindanao to file a certificate of candidacy.

This marked the second time PTFoMS sent special agents to the provinces to investigate cases -- including unresolved -- of media killings.

On April 2, 2018, the first team of special agents were sent to Visayas to look into cases of media violence.

The team’s findings showed that 11 convictions on cases of media killings have been recorded between the years 2012 to 2017, a proof that perpetrators do not go unpunished as some sectors would project.

No less than Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar, co-chairman of PTFoMS, led the send-off rites for the special agents in April.

Separate teams left on Monday to different parts of Luzon and Visayas to conduct similar investigation that include visits to the families of the victims.

Egco said the deployment is a testament on how serious and resolute the government is in its commitment to stamp out the problem of media killings that has plagued the journalism profession in the country for decades.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in his first State Of The Nation Address (SONA) in 2016, declared that "this government does not condone violence or repression of media".

In the government’s quest to leave no stone unturned in resolving media killings, Duterte signed Administrative Order 01 creating the PTFoMS.

Egco said the task force special agents will not let any obstacle derail their mission to protect the life, liberty and security of media workers.

The deployment of special agents is a major component of the Vision 2020 Action Plan of the Task Force, a detailed action plan formulated in the Seminar-Workshop organized by the PTFoMS held on January 24 this year. (PNA)