Duterte task force working to protect media workers from harm

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - First Page -

THE PRESIDENTIAL Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) families of slain journalists in the country that it continues to seek justice and working closely with authorities to solve the murders.

Two media men Sapol News Bulletin columnist and Radio Mindanao Network

volunteer reporter Leodoro Diaz and Rudy Dahunan Alicaway, broadcaster for Radyo ng Bayan dxpb – were murdered recently in southern Philippines.

Diaz was killed in the village of Kalanawi in Sultan Kudarat’s President Quirino town in SOCCSKSARGEN Region (12) which accounts for the most number of media killings in the country. Diaz’s murder was 14th in the region.

Alicaway was also shot and killed in the village of Culo in Molave town in Zamboanga del Sur province. He was also a councilman in the village of Miligan. Diaz’s killing was also the 14th in Zamboanga Peninsula.

Secretary Martin Andanar, of the Presidential Communications Operations Office who is also the PTFOMS Co-chairman, gave specific order to Undersecretary Joel Egco, PTFOMS Executive Director, to immediately act on the cases.

Egco immediately met with Superintendent Eder Collantes, Police Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) Task Force Usig, to map out strategies on how to speed up the investigation of the murders. “Upon instruction by Secretary Martin Andanar, we have instructed PNP Task Force Usig to immediately conduct a probe and for local probers to apprehend the culprits and identify the mastermind. We are also sending a separate directive for the National Bureau of Investigation to join the investigation. Sultan Kudarat is in region 12 which accounts for one of the most number of media killings since 1986. There are 13 cases in our inventory. If the killing of Leo Diaz will be established to be work related, his case would be the 14th on our list,” Egco said.

He said the PTFOMS is fully committed to discharge its function in keeping media workers free from any and all forms of threats and violence that may be carried out against them.

Last week, Egco travelled to Sultan Kudarat and held a meeting with Senior Superintendent Raul Supiter, the provincial police chief, to personally look into the slaying of Diaz. He also met with the family and friends of Diaz and other journalists who are members of SOCCSKSARGEN Press Club and Sultan Kudarat Press, and local government officials.

“We will remain focused on the fulfilment of our mission to achieve the ends of justice despite some people's little knowledge and appreciation of what we do. The task at hand is not an easy one, but it is not impossible,” he said.

The PTFOMS has been hard at work since October 2016 responding to complaints from journalists who believed their safety has been threatened as well as mobilizing law enforcement and the National Prosecutorial services to act on issues of media security.

Funeral of slain journalis Leo Diaz. (Courtesy of PTFOMS)

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