MANILA – The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) on Monday moved to protect a broadcaster in Digos City, Davao Del Sur who was allegedly threatened by a politician.
People with alleged connections to Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas reportedly went to the office of 105.3 Radyo Kastigo in Barangay Cogon, Digos City and demanded that broadcaster Jun Panerio be turned over to them.
Deputy governor Arvin Malaza also allegedly threatened to shut down the station unless Panerio is turned over to them.
The radio station is known to be critical of the Cagas administration.
In a statement, the PTFoMS said it has instructed the Philippine National Police and Task Force Usig, which was created to handle killings of media practitioners and members of militant groups, to immediately conduct an investigation into the incident.
“The PNP personnel who reportedly accompanied the camp of Cagas were ordered to stand down or face the consequences of their action, which clearly indicates harassment,” the PTFoMS said.
“The PNP is further ordered to conduct a prompt and thorough probe and to slap the appropriate charges against anyone who may have violated the law and the mandate of Administrative Order No.1 the presidential directive.”
The PTFoMS was created through Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 1 signed in October 2016.
The task force was formed to put an end to "all forms of political violence and abuses of powers against members of the fourth estate" as the Philippines continues to rank high in the "most dangerous places for journalists" around the world, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar earlier said.
The task force shall conduct an inventory of cases of media killings within 30 days, including unsolved cases, cases under investigation, cases under preliminary investigation, cases under trial, and cases under appeal, Andanar said.
Aside from listing down existing cases, the task force is expected to "monitor and if needed, provide assistance" to members of the media who are covering "areas under military operations, armed conflict".