"Philippines will be safest place for journalist": Government

The authorities say their mandate is to prevent any form of harm that will threaten journalist physically, emotionally or psychologically.

Representational image of video journalists Reuters

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), a body created by the Office of the President assured the local and foreign correspondents that with the creation of the new body, the Philippines will be the safest place for journalists in the world.

Undersecretary Joel Edco of PTFoMS said during a regional presentation, that their mandate is to prevent any form of harm that will threaten journalist physically, emotionally or psychologically to debunked previous reports that the Philippines was a dangerous place for journalists.

The regional presentation was participated in by government officials, mediamen and other organizational-stakeholders involved in the protection of journalists.

The international media earlier projected the Philippines as a dangerous place for journalists in 2009 when 34 journalists were kidnapped and massacred by a known politician clan in the Maguindanao. The incident became the biggest massacre of Philippine history that happened in one day.

Edco said the Duterte administration is aware of the working risks of journalists especially when they expose the truth that sometimes could hurt influential personalities .

The newly-created task force mandate is to document threats against journalists so they can assist, facilitate and provide protection to journalists with validated threats to prevent journalists' killings like what happened in the past.

Manila Times quoted Undersecretary Egco as saying that "unlike in the past when government only comes in after the fact or when a media worker had been killed, we are now mandated under Administrative Order No. 1 to act promptly on the first signs of trouble, as soon as a complaint reaches us."

An ersthwile president of the National Press Club (NPC), Edco also said it will help facilitate fastrack the resolution of legal cases filed against journalists.

The Philippines enjoys press freedom as guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution as enshrined in Article III, Section IV but despite of this law, some hard-hitting journalists including radio commentators have become victims of murder as a result of their profession.