THE Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Sunday, January 23, 2022, that politicians and their supporters who will engage in any form of violence against media workers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“This coming election, let us all together ensure the safety of our media practitioners to spare and protect them from the wrongdoings perpetrated by politicians. Let us keenly look out for their protection from any danger that could prevent them from doing their work efficiently, effectively, and honestly,” DILG secretary Eduardo Año said.

“The media needs to be safeguarded against every threat of violence and other forms of peril that become even more prevalent during elections. They have an important job and this cannot be restrained by fear, harassment, or intimidation to tell the truth to the public,”he added.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has assigned a total of 1,899 police officers to serve as “media security vanguards” during the election period for the May 2022 national polls.

Año ordered the creation of media security vanguards following the request of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) in a bid to create safe and healthy spaces for media practitioners, recognizing the vulnerability of the said sector during the election period.

The media security vanguards will also serve as the first line of defense, as they will be the first to receive information and respond to threats made against any media workers.

Año said they will also have to ensure that those who will inflict harm to media workers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“The PNP is doing its best to carry out their mandate to protect the people. Kapag magkakatuwang ang mga mamamahayag at ang ating kapulisan sa pag-uungkat at pagresolba sa mga karahasan at bantang kinakaharap, lalong napapaigting ang ating kampanya laban sa mga kapahamakan at katiwaliang nakapalibot sa halalan,” he said.

(When journalists and our police work together to identify and resolve the violence and threats they face, our campaign against the disasters and corruption surrounding elections will be intensified.)

On December 19, 2019, a Quezon City court sentenced to life imprisonment several respondents in the Maguindanao massacre case, including members of the once-powerful Ampatuan clan. They were believed to be behind the incident where at least 60 people were killed, including 32 media workers who covered an election-related event.