Cops deployed to ensure safety of journalists during midterm polls

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 11 2019 12:54 AM

MANILA - Twenty-one policemen have been tasked to ensure the security of media personnel this election period, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said Wednesday.

PCOO Undersecretary and Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) chief Joel Egco said this was done to safeguard media workers and journalists nationwide. 

"This is an election season and we observed on the presidential task force on media security na every election season is a most risky for media workers or journalists nationwide. Through the years talagang may data kami nag i-spike yung violence against media workers during elections," he said.

Egco cited the Maguindanao massacre, wherein 34 media personnel were killed a year before the 2010 presidential elections, as a strong basis for securing media workers.

The PNP Police Security and Protection Group (PNP-PSPG) will escort media workers who have threats on their lives and those who will be assigned to election hotspots. 

PSPG director Brig. Gen. Filmore Escobal said media practitioners may apply for security detail and submit necessary documents similar to private individuals subject to Comelec approval. 

“We can provide security as long as it's not permanent. The permanent provision of security will depend on Comelec provision," he said.

Aside from providing security, Egco said the 21 PSPG personnel will also focus on investigating media killings and harassment in the country. 

"Not only security but they investigate, each policeman who now call special agent of the task force, bumababa sila sa ilalim at nobody knowing na they are investigating so we are handling about 170 cases since 1985 up to present," he said.

Egco said three factors contribute to media violence especially in provinces: dirty politics, crime and corruption, and economic vulnerability.