The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday directed the police to protect members of the media, who may face threats and intimidation during the 2022 election period.
In a statement, the DILG ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to assign Media Security Focal Persons in each province and city who could respond to media workers' security concerns.
DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Secretary Eduardo Año issued a memorandum on the matter to PNP Chief General Dionardo Carlos.
According to the DILG, Presidential Task Force of Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director Joel Sy Egco requested assistance in light of the possible violence against media workers.
“We are one with the PTFoMS in providing security and other protective measures for media workers. They deserve to be shielded from every form of harm that they might be exposed to in the line of duty particularly during elections,” Año said.
“The 4th Estate is an integral part of our democracy and government’s partner for a more peaceful, honest and orderly polls,” he added.
Also on Wednesday, a radio commentator in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat was shot dead.
With this memorandum, the PNP will designate a PNP focal person for media security who will be the first to receive information and respond to any threats leveled against a media worker, the DILG said.
The focal person will also closely work with assigned special agents of the PTFoMS and help the task force in speeding up the resolution of cases of violence against journalists.
Malaya recalled the Maguindanao Massacre in 2009 where 58 people were murdered, including 32 members of the media who were covering the filing of candidacy in the area.
"The infamous massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao in November 2009 is a constant reminder that media workers are mostly vulnerable a few months before, during and a few months after every elections," Malaya said.
"The best example of that is, of course, the Maguindanao massacre. Secretary Eduardo Año saw the wisdom in the request and as a result, he gave the directive to the PNP," he added. — BM, GMA News