THE Philippine National Police-Police Security Protection Group (PSPG) has assigned 21 cops to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) to help secure media personnel who will cover the midterm polls.
PTFoMS director Undersecretary Joel Egco said they made a request before the PSPG to avoid any incidents similar to the 2009 “Maguindanao massacre” where at least 30 media personnel were killed.
Egco said they will assign the policemen to media practitioners who have imminent threat against their lives in line of their jobs, or to those who will be assigned to cover critical areas.
He said media personnel may send request to the PTFoMS for the provision of security personnel.
“This is an election season and we observed on the presidential task force on media security na every election season is a most risky for media workers or journalist nationwide... Through the years, talagang may data kami nag i-spike ‘yung violence against media workers during elections,” he said.
“Usually ang ginagawa natin dyan, we contact the local police to provide immediate security kasi mas mahalaga dito ay pro-active ‘yung ating galaw, unlike ‘yung mga dating task forces na reactive, pagpatay na saka lamang gagalaw, dito pagtawag ng journalist, within 10 minutes, we have what we call quick reaction system and I instructed my men kailangan within 10 minutes or you’re fired, so kailangan na meron ka agad action taken within 10 minutes,” he added.
Egco believes the harassment and violence against media practitioners will be avoided if there were policemen securing them.
Egco said the policemen deployed to the PTFoMS will also assist them in conducting investigation in relation to the killings of media personnel.
He said they are handling about 170 cases since 1985. (SunStar Philippines)