BATASAN HILLS, Quezon City
ACT-CIS Partylist Representative Rowena Niña Taduran vows to continue protecting the rights of media workers in the country as she lauded the report released by the Committee to Protect Journalists declaring the Philippines as the “biggest mover” in the list of worst countries for journalists.
In the Global Impunity Index (GII) released by the New York-based group, the Philippines moved from rank 5 to rank 7 in the list of worst countries for journalists.
This after the landmark decision convicting the prime suspects in the Maguindanao massacre wherein 58 people were killed including 32 journalists, was handed down by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
Taduran, author of the Bill on Media Workers Welfare said that this improvement speaks a lot about the government’s unwavering determination to safeguard journalists and bring to justice those who have done them wrong.
The solon also praised the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) for its tireless efforts in following up cases of violence against media men up to the rightful conclusion.
“We should not rest on this achievement. There are still journalists who die while performing their duties or abused by so-called influential people. The passage of the Bill on Media Workers Welfare will be a big contribution in protecting the rights of all who work in media, whether in front or behind the scenes,” says Taduran.
In the current GII, the Philippines has still 11 unsolved murders in the 10-year index period, compared with 41 for last year’s index.
Taduran believes that through the help of the PTFoMS headed by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the resolution to these heinous crimes against journalists will be achieved.
Executive Director of PTFoMS, Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, said that all eleven remaining cases of killed journalists are already in courts. The task force, since its inception in 2016, has also helped hundreds of journalists including those who are victims of online harassment.
In recent months, two journalists have been gunned down while the country is reeling from the Covid 19 pandemic. Cornelio Pepino, a radio broadcaster in Negros, was shot pointblank by 2 assailants last May while Jobert Bercasio, online broadcaster, was gunned down by 2 motorcycle riders in Sorsogon City last September.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL