SENATORIAL candidate Gilbert Remulla expressed support Monday to media practitioners' slogan, "Stop Killing Journalist in the Country," which is also the battle cry of all working journalists.
Remulla was in Bacolod on Monday for a series of meetings. He was welcomed by Mayor Evelio Leonardia at the New Government Center, along with Mayors Alfredo Marañon Jr. of Sagay, Salvador Escalante Jr. of Cadiz, Manuel Escalante III of Manapla, Association of Chief Executives, Dr. Jilson Tubillara of San Enrique, and supporters.
"There is need to stop killing the journalists, as we are now known as the most dangerous place for journalist, despite of being the freest media in Asia" said Remulla.
He said this contrast cannot be more ironic, "and we have to put an end to this because journalists play a very special role in our democracy."
Remulla also appealed to the media to really look and scrutinize the way the prosecution acted in the recent Ampatuan massacre. "The way the National Government prosecutes the suspect, as the prime suspects are very close to the present administration."
Running under the Nacionalista Party (NP), after obtaining a degree in Broadcast Communication in 1993, Remulla joined ABS-CBN as part of its news team. He started as a production assistant, and then became a reporter and a regular in the morning and evening news.
Remulla, meanwhile, urged congressmen and senators to pass and ratify the freedom of information act that is now pending in the Senate.
He said if this would be passed, it would be easier for the journalists to do their job, noting that it would enshrine into law, "not just by constitutional mandate but by the law itself that the journalist will be able to access public information, freely with the course of law."
He said there will be penalties of the government agencies that will refuse to give the information to the media.
He also said magna carta for journalist was not also passed in Congress, noting that it's only in the committee level.
He said: "We need the magna carta for journalist in order to gain further protection to the group."
Remulla noted the magna carta for journalists, if truly becomes a law, will mandate the media outfits and business to give the reporters insurance such as medical insurance, health, life and hazard pay.
He said the Philippine National Police and the military should also recognize the importance of the media in the workings of democracy.
Remulla also expressed his opposition to the right of reply bill authored by Bacolod Representative Monico Puentevella and the criminalization of libel for the journalists.
Asked about the coming May elections, Remulla said: "We are so worried about the poll automation, which we do not see the extra effort being given by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the voter education, teacher training, or to recruit at least 50,000 technical people for the operations."
He opined that he still prefers for a manual election "in order to make sure or erase the doubts or cheating during elections in the country."
Earlier, Malacañang joined the Comelec in assuring that the country's first automated elections in May will be a success, with Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita saying measures are being undertaken to ensure the orderly conduct of the polls in wake of fears of a possible failure.
Ermita said there are fallback measures in case of malfunction of machines in some remote areas.