MAGANES: Media security under President Duterte

October 1, 2017 at 5:32 pm Leave a comment


The issuance of Administrative Order No. 1 last October 10, 2016 by President Rodrigo Duterte for the creation of Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) has provided relief to the media practitioners including their families, assuring them  that after all their security is being looked into by the present administration.

 Media practitioners have long been under threats in the country. If they are not harassed, they are maimed and killed in the course of their work. Under Duterte’s administration, the media victims including their families are provided with security officers from the Philippine National Police (PNP) through the PTFoMS. This is a welcome move of this administration only to ensure that the media practitioners are secured in the course of their duties as members of the fourth estate.

 While the PNP has a big role in the protection and security of media practitioners who are under threats, are harassed or killed, much has to be desired in their participation to the PTFoMS. Media practitioners who are under the PNP’s protective services are considered as Very Important Persons (VIPs) and police officers detailed are not provided with Combat Duty Pay (CDP) and Combat Incentive Pay (CIP). These police incentives are supposed to be shouldered by the protected and secured media practitioners.

 I could not understand why the PNP has been treating media practitioners as VIPs where in fact they are not that moneyed as opposed to politicians who are being secured by them. Politicians have all the means to give additional emoluments to their police security officers even if their CDPs and CIPs are not given. Many media practitioners have hand to mouth existence unless they themselves join the bandwagon of illegal activities and corruption.

 On this, I call upon PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who is a member of PTFoMS, to look into this situation. I think this is the right time for him to review the policies on providing security to VIPs, and media practitioners should be separated from them. As a media victim myself, I had a hard time getting police security although I am grateful that for months I was provided such.

 My only sentiment was one of the police security assigned to me was recalled haphazardly without even giving me the benefit to be informed. But then, I was informed that some politicians who are not even active in service are provided with police security officers, but never recalled by their superiors. Apparently, there is a double standard in the policies of the PNP.

 Speaking of media security, in 2010 the PNP has published a Handbook on “Personal Security Measures for Media Practitioners”, to provide protection for journalists who are facing threats of their profession. The intention of the said handbook is to provide media practitioners with the basic knowledge and practical skills in securing themselves and their families, determining possible threats and improving communications among all concerned including local PNP units. Then President PNoy Aquino had directed the PNP to address unlawful killings of media practitioners particularly the “investigation of cases as well as boosting security measures for those under threat.”

 The handbook was released during the incumbency of PNP Chief Director General Raul Bacalzo wherein initial 2,000 copies of the 48-page handbook were printed by the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) under then Chief Superintendent Arturo Cacdac.

The 48-page handbook contains topics on threat detection and assessment, basic guidance on personal security measures, introductory instructions on counter-surveillance and evasive techniques, home, workplace and travel security, and of handling threats. Security tips have been included to arm and empower media practitioners to effectively protect themselves and their families against criminality and other forms of threats and danger.

Whatever happened to the said handbook? I think with the creation of PTFoMS, the PNP national leadership has to revive its publication. Every media practitioner in the country should be provided with a copy for their perusal.

In these trying times, media practitioners are the targets of the power hungry politicians who want to silence them in exposing their illegal activities and corruptions. What is saddening and hurting sometimes is the truth that many media practitioners are under the payrolls of corrupt politicians.

(For comments and suggestions, email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com or at virgilmaganes42@gmail,com. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at www.virgilmaganes.wordpress. com. Read the online edition of Northern Watch at www.northwatch.wordpress.com)

Entry filed under: News.

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