Media group to reporters, protesters: You are not each other’s enemy

A media organization reminded colleagues to go beyond traffic and disruption in reporting on protest rallies as it urged transport organization Manibela not to treat reporters as enemies following an altercation in Quezon City last Monday.

In an alert last Wednesday, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Metro Manila Chapter (NUJP-MMC) said it encourages fellow reporters to focus more on those accountable for problems instead of sectors who are fighting for their livelihood.

“Colleagues are encouraged to go beyond the narrative of traffic and disruption and report on why protests are held in the first place. These inputs will help better inform the truth that we report,” the NUJP-MMC said.

The media group however said that violence or threats against reporters have no justification, adding Manibela could have set a dialogue with Gonzales or file complaint with his newsroom if they object to his kind of reporting.


DZRH radio reporter Val Gonzales said he was hit by protesting jeepney drivers while covering their rally in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board office along East Avenue.

Gonzales complained he was reporting that Manibela was causing a traffic jam while occupying the road when approached by some protesters who “hit his back.”

“They punched me as Manibela members rushed toward me because I was reporting the truth,” Gonzales said in a live report on the incident.

DZRH reporter Val Gonzales (in red shirt) confronting protesting jeepney drivers. (Grab from Johnson Manaba’s x)

In his report, Gonzales used the Filipino word “perwisyo” (from the Spanish original perjuicio) in describing Manibela’s protest action against the forced surrender of their driving franchises under the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena however disputed Gonzales’ claim of physical harm despite the reporter “provoking” and “insulting” them immediately before going on air.

“He insulted and cursed at members of Manibela saying they should be jailed due to the inconvenience caused before he went on air for the DZRH program,” Valbuena said.

Valbuena said their members only approached Gonzales to talk to him.

The transport leader said he has apologized for the incident, adding that Manibela respects journalists and that he hopes the latter will do the same for them.

ABS-CBN reporter Johnson Manabat’s post on X shows Gonzales being protected by a DZRH colleague while angry-looking Manibela members were trying to get to him.

Not each others’ enemy

Gonzales said he already talked to the Quezon City Police District on the possible filing of a complaint against Manibela members.

The Presidential Task Force for Media Security (PTFoMs) said it denounces the incident, adding will assist the reporter in filing a complaint.

DZRH station manager Rudolph Steve Jularbal said their network will press charges against those involved in the “punching” of their reporter, saying the incident was harassment and a violation of press freedom.

The Defense Press Corps (DPC also condemned the incident, saying the violence was “unjustifiable.”

The Philippine National Police, Justice Reporter’s Organization, Quezon City Journalists’ Group Inc., and Southern Metro Manila Tri-Media denounced the incident.

NUJP-MMC said it reached out to Gonzales who reportedly replied he would soon provide further details of the incident after consulting with his legal counsel.

NUJP-MMC added that despite high tensions and emotions at protests and rallies, the media should not be regarded as the enemy nor should reporters treat protesters as enemies either. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Drivers remain defiant vs. ‘forced consolidation’ of jeepney franchises

By Nuel M. Bacarra

Jeepney drivers and operators belonging to the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahang Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) and the Federation of Drivers, Commuters, and United Transportation Terminals (MANIBELA) again protested at the central office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Quezon City last Thursday, May 16, against the government’s “ant-people” public transport modernization program.

Reiterating they are not against the so-called modernization of public utility vehicles, the protesters said the program’s franchise consolidation aspect however is a denial of their right to ownership and livelihood.

The scheme also means corporatization and privatization of the public transport sector that only favor foreign entities and local big businesses, they said.

Photo by N. Bacarra/Kodao

The government announced it will start issuing penalties against drivers and impounding their vehicles this week following the latest deadline for franchise consolidation last April 30.

A ₱50,000 fine will be charged for the impounded vehicle, the government threatened.

PISTON said the directive is a “crackdown” because “it is an obvious move for a job massacre and a direct attack on the commuters’ right for an affordable public transport.”

The group pointed out that the government is not yet ready for the program’s full implementation as it has yet to present plans on how to support drivers and operators through subsidy and route rationalization.

PISTON added that the government has no contingency plans for commuters to be affected by the transport crisis once traditional jeepneys are no longer allowed to ply their routes.

The protesters also said that some drivers and operators who entered had their franchises consolidated also joined Thursday’s protest, revealing they were forced to submit to the merger due to threat and intimidation.

Photo by N. Bacarra/Kodao

Forced modernization

The government reported that 78.33% have consolidated nationwide as of April 23 and a 65% rate of consolidation is enough for the PUVMP to pursue.

The protesters however said government’s claim of high percentage of consolidation cannot be considered factual.

“The government has no concrete plan, especially how the route rationalization will be implemented. Local government units are assigned to work on this. There’s no clear plan on the reintegration of the displaced drivers to the economy as a whole. A spike on unemployment is inevitable,” PISTON said.

The government is hell-bent on pursuing this modernization program while abandoning and sacrificing the drivers, operators and commuters in favor of foreign and big businesses,” the group added.

Meanwhile, some jeepney drivers from Pedro Gil in Manila with unconsolidated franchises defiantly plied their routes took, saying it remains to be their livelihood.

There were no reports of drivers apprehended and jeepneys impounded Thursday. #