Tag Archives: JOEL EGCO

DUTERTE hails PTFoMs for protecting press freedom

 October 13, 2021, 5:56 pm

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded the Presidential Task Force on Media Security’s (PTFoMS) efforts in protecting the media workers’ welfare by upholding press freedom in the country. In his message for the 5th founding anniversary of the PTFoMs, Duterte expressed hope… Read More

PTFoMS in 5th Gear: A Duterte Legacy

MANILA – The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) is in high gear as it celebrated Monday its 5th year anniversary as the forefront agency of the government in defending press freedom by protecting the life, liberty and security of media workers in the Philippines.As one of… Read More

RADIO ‘BLOCKTIMERS’ WARNED VS. POLITICAL ASSASSINS

Told to be more vigilant as the election season nears

By ROGERM. BALANZA

Radio broadcasters are in the crossfire of political violence during elections, and a Malacanang official warned against a spike in media killings with the May 2022 national elections only months ahead.

 Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, Executive Director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), issued the warning following the killing of a radio broadcaster in Cebu City.

Reynante “Rey” Cortes, a blocktimer for radio station dyRB, was shot dead by motorcycle “riding in tandem” gunmen in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City on Thursday.

PTFoMS is an inter-agency body created by President Rodrigo Duterte at the start of his term in 2016, to protect members of the press against violence and intimidation.

Egco reminded broadcasters, specifically blocktimers, to be more vigilant as the election season nears.

He said, historically, there is a spike in election-related violence committed against blocktimers as the election heats up, especially at the local level.

Blocktiming is the practice of buying “blocks” of air time to produce programs independent of networks and stations.

Egco has ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) investigators to thoroughly look into the case to find out if the incident was in connection with his blocktime program.

The PNP is one of the law enforcement agencies that comprise the PTFoMS.

Records of media killings in the Philippines show that most of the victims were blocktime radio broadcasters identified with political persons or groups.

The PTFoMS has already requested legislators to look into the practice by radio stations of selling time slots to the blocktime broadcasters, most of whom are not accredited by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas (KBP), which police media ethics violations by broadcasters.

SY EGCO TO BARMM: ENSURE SAFETY OF MEDIA WORKERS

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) called for the creation of a regional counterpart in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to ensure the safety of media workers and prevent another Maguindanao massacre from happening again.

“I urge the Bangsamoro Region to create a counterpart Task Force of PTFoMS. The mechanism being implemented by the PTFoMS has been acknowledged by international organizations as an effective deterrent against media violence,” PTFoMS Executive Director Usec. Joel Sy Egco said.

Sy Egco made this call during the oath-taking ceremony of the members and officials of the Bangsamoro Press Corps (BPC) held at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex, BARMM Government Compound, Cotabato City recently.

He said “a BARMM Task Force on Media Security could be the only solution in preventing a repetition of the gruesome Maguindanao massacre that happened in 2009,” referring to the incident in Ampatuan town that left 58 people dead, including 32 journalists.

EGCO backs P19 billion for NTF-ELCAC anti-communist campaign

Warns of ‘virus of communist terrorists’ if NTF-ELCAC not funded

Presidential Task Force on Media Security Exec. Dir. Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco cautioned Wednesday against the “virus of communist terrorists” in the event that the government defunds the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Egco issued the statement, amid critics’ calls to realign the NTF-ELCAC’s funds to the country’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic response efforts.

Under the 2021 national budget, a total of PHP19 billion is earmarked for NTF-ELCAC.

Around PHP16.4 billion of the PHP19 billion budget of the government’s anti-communist task force is allocated to its Barangay Development Program (BDP).

A nationwide banner program of NTF-ELCAC, the BDP is a package of socio-economic development programs allocated for areas cleared of infestation of the communists’ armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA). READ MORE

President Rodrigo Duterte presides over a recent meeting with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) at the Malacañan Palace.

KILLER OF DAVAO BROADCASTER DENNIS DENORA ARRESTED

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) has announced the recent arrest of Richard Posas Bolastig, one of the suspected gunmen in the murder of journalist Dennis Denora, with the active involvement of the Davao del Norte Police Provincial Office.

In a report submitted to Malacañang by Lt. Col. Verna Cabuhat, acting chief of police of Panabo City Police Station, police operatives were able to serve a court-issued warrant of arrest against Bolastig on Feb. 22 for the murder of Denora as earlier directed by the Task Force.

Bolastig is now detained at the Tagum City Jail awaiting trial.

“This is proof of the government’s unwavering commitment to bring to justice all perpetrators of media killings in the country. I commend the men and women of the PNP for capturing this most wanted criminal. We will not rest until all those responsible for the murder of Dennis Denora are brought to justice,” PTFoMS co-chairman and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said in a news release on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, executive director of PTFoMS, said the arrest of Bolastig is a validation of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s unbroken promise to end the plague of violence against media workers by bringing perpetrators behind bars.

“We assure our media workers that the so-called culture of impunity in the Philippines has finally ended with the creation of the Task Force by President Duterte. PTFoMS is living proof of the government’s pledge to safeguard press freedom,” Egco said.

Denora, the publisher of Trends and Times, a community paper based in Davao del Norte, was killed by two gunmen in an ambush in Panabo City last June 7, 2018, one of whom was said to be Bolastig.

Earlier, a murder charge has been filed against Bolastig and another unidentified cohort in 2019 for the killing of Denora under Criminal Case no. 425-2019. The case is pending at Branch 4 of the Regional Trial Court of Panabo City presided by Judge Carmel Gil Grado.

The only one in existence in the world, PTFoMS was created by Duterte in 2016 with a dedicated mandate to resolve all media killings in the country.

Egco earlier declared that in just four years, the country has achieved another world’s first by so far resolving 50 cases of media killings with the conviction of accused Leonardo Banaag Jr. for the murder of broadcaster Jovelito Agustin.

This brings to 67 the total number of suspects that were found guilty by the courts for the killing of journalists, with sentences ranging from reclusion temporal to life imprisonment. (PR)

Palace condemns killing of Pangasinan newsman

Undersecretary and Presidential Task Force on Media Security Executive Director Joel Sy Egco (left) and radio commentator Virgilio Maganes (Photo courtesy of Northern Watch)

Vows swift justice

 Describing it as an act of cowardice, Malacañang strongly condemned the killing of radio announcer Virgilio S. Maganes in Villasis, Pangasinan on Tuesday morning and vowed to hunt down and punish those responsible.“We are deeply saddened by the untimely death of Virgilio… Read More

PTFoMS eyes 2016 incident link to slay

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) would soon conduct a probe on the death of broadcaster Virgilio “Vir” Maganes. “The PTFoMS will probably make an initial determination if the incident was work-related. If… Read More

Andanar vows to uphold press rights, freedom

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Sunday guaranteed that President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration would continue to protect the rights and freedom of the press in the Philippines.

World Press Freedom Day - 3 May
Andanar gave the assurance as he joined journalists and media workers in the Philippines and around the world in celebrating the World Press Freedom Day.

May 3 is proclaimed as World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness on the importance of press freedom and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression.

egcoIn a press statement, Andanar stressed that Duterte formed the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) and signed Republic Act 11458 and Executive Order (EO) 2 on Freedom of Information (FOI) to protect the life, liberty, and security of media workers. PTFoMS is chaired by PCOO Undersecretary Joel Egco.

“A free and pluralistic press continues to play an important role in the foundation and progress of an informed and empowered society,” Andanar said. “We will continue to endeavor towards the continued promotion of press rights and freedom.”

PTFoMS, created through Administrative Order 1 inked by Duterte in October 2016, is tasked to protect members of the press in the country.

RA 11458, on the other hand, was signed in August 2019 to expand the coverage of a law protecting journalists, including broadcast and online journalists, from revealing confidential sources.

Duterte also signed EO 2 on FOI in July 2016 as part of his campaign promise to promote transparency in the government by allowing Filipinos to obtain documents and records from public offices under the executive branch.

Andanar admitted that there will be an “intellectual vacuum” on public information and government programs and services sans an “open and free press.”

He added there will also be no dialogue on societal issues, public grievances and government policies without press freedom.

Continued delivery of news

Andanar also acknowledged that protected press freedom has allowed the continued reporting of Filipino journalists amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic (Covid-19) in the country.

“With the current Covid-19 pandemic, press freedom has allowed for the continued delivery of news and reports to all Filipino households. It has also helped voice out the public’s pulse and serve as an avenue for the government to increase public awareness of its policies and report its activities with complete transparency,” he said.

Media workers are exempted from observing the strict home quarantine amid the implementation of enhanced community quarantine imposed in the country to stop the further transmission of Covid-19.

Andanar lauded the journalists for their “heroism, bravery, and service” amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

“With these in mind, we pray for the safety of everyone, especially the journalists and media workers currently reporting from the frontlines despite the pandemic,” he said.

Rightful, truthful news

Andanar expressed hope that “rightful and truthful” information would prevail amid the health crisis.

He made the remarks amid the spread of fake news about the government’s fight against Covid-19.

Andanar, a veteran journalist, called on members of the press to help the government stop the proliferation of false information.

“Let us work together as well, to eradicate biased information, misinformation, disinformation and fake news that continue to damage not only our society, but the trust and the relationship between the government and the people, a relationship that must be maintained in order for our society to function as a whole,” he said. (PNA)