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NegOcc Police Reactivates Provincial Media Security Task Force

NegOcc Police Reactivates Provincial Media Security Task Force

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The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO) has reactivated the local media security task force to ensure protection for journalists and media workers during the coverage of the May 2022 elections.

Lt. Abegael Donasco, public information officer of NOCPPO, said on Thursday she has been designated as the focal or point person, who will receive and monitor reports on media workers in danger as well as oversee and monitor media-related violence.

“If there are threats, although I hope there will be none or anything that puts your security or safety at risk this coming national and local elections, you can contact me,” Donasco said in an interview.

She said they will conduct verification and take appropriate action on reports of a threat to the life, liberty, and security of media practitioners.

In a virtual meeting on January 18 presided by Undersecretary Jose Joel Sy Egco, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), and Brig. Gen. Roderick Alba, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Public Information Office, the PIOs of all police regional and provincial offices, and city and municipal police stations were reoriented on their tasks as point persons aligned with the PTFoMS.

The PTFoMS was created through Administrative Order 1 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on October 11, 2016 to establish an inter-agency body to provide a safe environment for media workers.

Last week, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), a member-agency of the PTFoMS, directed the PNP to designate media security focal persons in each province and city to protect members of the media who may face threats or intimidation in the course of the May 2022 elections.

Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement the memorandum was issued by Secretary Eduardo Año to PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos upon the request of Egco in anticipation of a possible increase in violent incidents involving media practitioners during the election season.

“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 election,” Malaya said.

He added the DILG and the PTFoMS are “particularly concerned over the fact that the problem of media killings and other acts of violence against members of the media are ‘directly related to the geopolitical environment’.”

“We share the views of PTFoMS executive director Undersecretary Egco, whose office has data on the prevalence of media violence during the election season. 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,” Malaya said. (PNA)

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