MANILA — Robinsons Malls management on Thursday apologized for an incident involving a photojournalist who was barred from documenting the long lines at a vaccination site in Las Piñas.
Mores Heramis recalled his experience in a Facebook post, hoping that it would not happen again to others.
In a video, authorities are seen escorting him out of the premises of the mall, saying the area was private property.
"In the video, you will see two guards escort me out habang tinutulak ako ng batuta ng marshall na parang aso palabas, makikita nyo din sa video na hinampas n'ya 'yung lente ng camera ko na batuta buti na lang nasangga ng balikat ko," Heramis recalled.
(In the video, you will see two guards escort me out while a marshall's baton pushes me out like a dog, you can also see in the video that he hit the lens of my camera that baton was protected by my shoulder.)
"Don't get me wrong, I am a journalist for 15 years and I know how to follow orders and my limitations in every coverage but this Robinsons guards are too much authoritarian. Naisip ko tuloy dahil sa mga nakunan kong photo malalaman na may mali sa sistema nila sa pagpapapila dahil nagrereklamo ang mga tao," he added.
(Don't get me wrong, I am a journalist for 15 years and I know how to follow orders and my limitations in every coverage but these Robinsons guards are too authoritarian. I thought that because of the photos I took, people would know that there was something wrong with their queuing system because people were complaining.)
"Saka pwede naman nila akong kausapin nang maayos at pagsabihan, for sure susunod ako sa kanila. At sa Las Pinas [police], I hope sana tumugon man lang kayo sa paghingi ko ng tulong," the photojournalist said.
(They can talk to me properly, and for sure I will follow them. And the Las Pinas police can at least respond to my request for help.)
"I hope Robinsons Mall acts on this to orient their guards how to interact with journalists covering significant events, sana lang wala na rin silang ibang ma-harass pa," he added.
(I just hope they don't harass others anymore.)
In a statement, Robinsons Malls management apologized Heramis and said they will investigate the incident.
“We thank Mores for bringing this to our attention and we apologize for the inconvenience the incident has caused him. We have taken swift action on the concerned security personnel and we will investigate the incident further to ensure that similar situations will not happen again," Robinsons Malls management.
Thousands flocked to COVID-19 vaccination sites in Metro Manila early Thursday, ahead of the imposition of a tighter lockdown to curb the spread of the Delta variant.
But many were left disappointed and sent home after jab centers reached their limit for available slots.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) slammed circulating posts that individuals still unvaccinated against COVID-19 would not receive any government aid when tougher lockdowns resume, describing it as "fake news."
Malacañang, meanwhile, blamed "fake news spreaders" for the long queues in vaccination sites,
Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the government has not banned unvaccinated individuals from going outside their homes—a concern that some of those who trooped to inoculation sites had cited.
—with reports from Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News