MANILA -- European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen described President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to form the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) as a good development in addressing media concerns in the Philippines.
“The PTFoMS is indeed a welcome development,” Jessen said in his speech, delivered by Enrico Strampelli, head of the development section of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, during a multi-stakeholder consultation on the Philippine Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists (PPASJ) on Wednesday.
The event was hosted by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) and the Copenhagen-based International Media Support (IMS) at the Astoria Hotel in Ortigas.
Jessen also cited the participation of various government agencies, including the police and military, as well as media organization and lawyers.
“We hope it (PTFoMS) will successfully resolve many issues that continue to hound journalists and help resolve with finality the murders of journalists in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Danish Ambassador Jan Top Christensen recognized the role of PTFoMS in improving the country’s ranking in the Global Impunity Index from No. 3 before Duterte formed the task force on Oct. 11, 2016 down to No. 5 as recently reported by the Community to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
He also took the opportunity to commend other “progressive reforms”, particularly in health, finance such as tax reform, and infrastructure such as the ambitious "Build, Build, Build" program of the Duterte administration.
Representatives of local and international journalists’ organizations, non-government organizations, government agencies, including PTFoMS, and the academe, have participated in the crafting of the PPASJ.
Lila Ramos-Shahani, secretary general of the Philippine National Commission for UNESCO, also praised the hard work of PTFoMS, headed by Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, to address the country’s CPJ ranking.
“They (PTFoMS) have been hard at work, reconciling the concerns of our media men and women with the work that the government is doing,” she added.
The event was co-financed by the European Union and Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (PNA)