Home Opinion Filipino journalists will continue telling the truth. The Filipino people deserve no...

Filipino journalists will continue telling the truth. The Filipino people deserve no less.

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AS AN expression of solidarity, I cede my space to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, of which Pampanga chapter I served as founding chair in 1989.

Whenever and wherever press freedom is challenged, find NUJP at the forefront, holding the line in its defense. As it did for Pampanga mediamen, myself included, in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s in the face of the armed harassment, intimidation and outright death threats from abusive local government executives and right-wing vigilante groups.

Here in full are two statements on grave media concerns issued by the NUJP on Nov. 6, 2019.

SINCE DECEMBER last year, there has been an intensifying campaign to paint the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and other independent media organizations and journalists as “fronts” of the armed communist movement.

From the initial “fake news” quoting clearly fabricated sources that were published in dubious tabloids and later in follow-up stories in state media, the state now wages the campaign openly.

First, there was National Intelligence Coordinating Agency regional director Rolando Asuncion accusing CLTV 36’s Sonia Soto of being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines and baring the existence of a secret list of 31 other journalists. Though he later apologized to Soto, he never took back his original assertion.

And then, in the recent Al Jazeera report on the killings in Negros, “Duterte’s New War,” Major General Antonio Parlade, deputy chief of staff for civil military operations, says media reports on the murders are not to be believed because “actually we doubt the sources because the media, especially the mainstream media, they are dominated by CPP cadres, especially in the print, in TV even…”

Now, amid what appears to be a state crackdown on openly tagged “front” organizations comes Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy unequivocally – her own word – calling the NUJP “terrorist.”

Here is a portion of the transcript of an interview with The Chiefs aired November 4 on Channel 8:

· Roby Alampay: Are they or are they not?

· Usec Badoy: Are they or are they not part of the CPP-NPA? They are.

· Roby Alampay: Are you essentially saying that these journalists are fronting and associated with terrorist organizations?

· Usec Badoy: Unequivocally. Yes.

By linking the NUJP with communists, which Badoy also branded as terrorists, journalists are clearly painted as enemies of the state. This is essentially an open call for state forces to threaten, harass, arrest, detain and kill journalists for doing their job.

Badoy’s unjust labelling comes in the wake of the arrest and detention of community journalist Anne Krueger during the series of raids in Bacolod City last Oct. 31. She has been slapped with clearly false charges of illegal possession of firearms.

What next? Should we, too, to expect raids and planted evidence in our offices and homes?

Badoy also justified President Duterte’s pronouncements against journalists, saying these are “not unwarranted.”

Clearly, the intent of this red-tagging spree and all other assaults on press freedom is to intimidate the independent media into abandoning their critical stance as watchdogs and become mouthpieces of government.

We say this with certainty: The community of independent Filipino news outfits and journalists will never again cave in to these efforts. The lessons of the Philippines under the Marcos dictatorship have proven this.

As for those behind these attempts to muzzle and shackle the Philippine press, should any harm befall our colleagues because of your machinations, you will be held to account.

Filipino journalists will continue telling the truth. The Filipino people deserve no less.

Execrable arrogance, boorishness

THE NATIONAL Union of Journalists of the Philippines denounces Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s execrable arrogance and boorishness when he cursed Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter Jhesset Enano for doing her job.

Live tweeting on events at the tail-end of the ASEAN Summit in Thailand, Enano posted a photo of Locsin sitting in for President Rodrigo Duterte at the closing ceremony with this caption: “LOOK: Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. @teddyboylocsin sits with other world leaders at the closing ceremony of the 35th Asean Summit in Thailand. President Duterte appears to have skipped this event, too.”

Before this, she had also tweeted that Duterte, who had foregone quake-devastated areas of Mindanao to attend the summit, had also skipped the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership summit and the handover of the ASEAN chairmanship from Thailand to Vietnam.

For reasons perhaps only he can comprehend, Locsin responded with this tweet: “Uh, did you get the putangina I sent you? That’s the last event, purely ceremonial and short. Jokowi had left, Mahathir too.”

This is unacceptable behavior from the country’s top diplomat, the person expected to project the best of the Philippines.

Enano was clearly doing her job and simply reporting the fact that Duterte was not there. How anyone can see malice in that is incomprehensible.

Clearly Locsin owes not only Enano but the country an apology for treating a citizen of the Republic so unjustly.

AND, EVEN as we are putting this piece together, NUJP alerted us of the killing of a broadcaster in Dumaguete City Thursday morning, November 7.

A police spot report said Dindo Generoso, was driving his car when he was shot dead by a lone gunman along Hibbard Avenue in Barangay Piapi around 7:30 a.m.

Colleagues said he was on his way to host his program on radio station dyEM 96.7 Bai Radio.

Generoso was the second journalist murdered since Edmund Sestoso, who died on May 1, 2018, a day after he was shot on his way home from hosting his radio program.

The identity of Generoso’s killer and the motive for his murder was not yet clear.

Still hold doubt that mediamen are targets for liquidation in this regime?

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