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Duterte forms task force to investigate journalists’ killings


President Rodrigo Duterte has signed his first administrative order creating a task force on media killings.

Presidential Secretary Martin Andanar made the announcement in a news briefing in Malacañang on Thursday afternoon.

The presidential task force will be tasked to look into violations of right to life, liberty, and security of the members of the press.

“The reason why the President wanted this administrative order or AO No. 1 is because he cares for you (media), for us. And he believes in the freedom of the press,” Andanar said.

AO No. 1 creating the presidential task force on violations of the right to life, liberty and security of the members of the media was signed by the President on October 11.

The task force will be chaired by the Secretary of Justice  and co-chaired by Presidential Communications Office Secretary.

Its members include the Interior Secretary, National Defense Secretary, Solicitor General, executive director of the presidential human rights committee, chief-of-staff Armed Forces of the Philippines, director general of the Philippine National Police, and the director of the National Bureau of Investigation.

The task force will also have its executive director as appointed by the President and as recommended by the chairperson.

Andanar said that the Commission on Human Rights chairperson and the Ombudsman were invited as observers and resource persons.

Heads of different press groups were also included.

Andanar said that the first meeting of the task force would be after Duterte's trip to China. 

Functions

The presidential task force is expected to have an inventory of all cases of violence against the press perpetrated by state and non-state forces. The cases will be broken down into four categories: unsolved cases, cases under investigation, cases under preliminary investigation, cases under trial, and cases under appeal.

The task force will also have a special team to investigate for new cases.

It repealed former President Benigno Aquino III’s AO No. 35 creating an inter-agency committee on extra-legal killings. — NB/RSJ, GMA News