MANILA – Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director, Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco on Wednesday said he got his “redemption” after being appointed as one of the eight spokespersons of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Egco, who admitted being a former communist rebel, said he had accepted the offer to become one of the NTF-ELCAC spokespersons to help the government address insurgency problems.
“This is also a personal advocacy for me. Advocacy ko ito and redemption also on my part. Hindi ko na lang sabihin kung anu-ano ang mga katarantaduhan ang mga ginawa ko noon (This is my advocacy and redemption also on my part. I would not go into details about my stupidity in the past [as former communist rebel]),” he said in an interview with Teleradyo's “Kuwentuhang Lokal".
Egco was recently designated as spokesperson for “Mass Media Engagements” and “Fact-Checker” of the NTF-ELCAC.
Some sectors have raised worry over Egco’s new role in NTF-ELCAC amid the task force’s supposed red-tagging of journalists and other media workers.
Egco assured that there would be no conflict of interest in his new job.
He guaranteed that as concurrent executive director of the PTFoMS, he would continue to protect members of the media from various threats.
“There’s no conflict of interest here. It’s the same interest. I’m in charge as executive director of the PToFMS. I’m in charge of the agency that is mandated to protect the life, liberty and security of media workers. And for the last five years, iyan po ang ginagawa natin (that’s what we are doing),” Egco said.
Egco said being designated as NTF-ELCAC spokesperson is “gratis et amore” (free of charge) for him.
He explained that he had decided to join the NTF-ELCAC because he was enlightened and regretted his previous ties with the communist movement.
“We seek reform. Our aspirations are the same – to live in peace and harmony and to have sustainable development for everybody,” he said. “We are not here to tell you lies but we are here to debunk those lies and tell you the truth.”
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday said he does not see a conflict of interest in Egco’s new role because the latter’s concurrent assignments require him to ensure the safety of all media workers.
NTF-ELCAC Vice Chair and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. announced Monday the designation of six new NTF-ELCAC spokespersons, including Egco, who will join Armed Forces of the Philippines Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. and PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy as co-spokespersons of the task force.
The five other new spokespersons of NTF-ELCAC are Undersecretaries Jonathan Malaya and Severo Catura, Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago, lawyer Marlon Bosantog and Gaye Florendo.
Esperon said the eight NTF-ELCAC spokesperson have “thematic” assignments and will not get a single centavo from the additional responsibilities they have in the task force. (PNA)