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Photojournalists appeal ban at SEAG opening

Photojournalists are disallowed from covering the opening ceremony of the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Philippine Arena tonight, the Photojournalists Center of the Philippines (PCP) said.

In a statement late Friday night, the PCP said they are saddened by the decision and asked Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chairperson Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to reconsider.

“While we recognize the logistical challenge of having hundreds of photographers covering the event, we appeal to the PHISGOC to reconsider this decision by consulting with representatives of accredited photographers and arriving at an orderly way of ‘pooling’ from accredited members of the local and foreign media, which has always been adopted in similar events like this,” the PCP said.

The 30th edition of the South East Asian Games (SEAG), hosted by the Philippines for the fourth time, formally kicks off tonight at the country’s biggest indoor arena.

In appealing their sudden exclusion, the PCP said photojournalists from all nations have always regarded covering an important event such as this biennial sports meet as part of their job “as recorders of history.”

“All past editions of [this] multinational event in all the host countries in its history, including our own, have always considered the important role of photojournalists in these events,” the group said.

The PCP explained that photojournalists have followed stringent rules to get themselves accredited ahead of time to cover the games.

The group also pointed that the Filipino people are spending for hosting the games and it is their right and duty to record the events.

NUJP joins PCP’s appeal

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) joined their colleagues in calling for the scrapping of the reported plans to disallow photojournalists at the opening ceremonies.

“If the [PHISGOC] is afraid it might be the victim of ‘fake news,’ the best defense is to show the truth, the whole truth, in all its warts and glory, not withdraw behind a veil. And who, if not our photojournalists, can do that without fear or favor?” the NUJP said in a statement.

The group pointed out that restricting what people see to official photos and other efforts to control the flow of information can only bolster suspicions that there are things they need to conceal.

“This would be the greatest betrayal to the spirit of the Games and to the athletes as they aim for glory,” the NUJP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NUJP Europe commemorates Ampatuan Massacre’s 10th anniversary

By Macel Ingles

ROME, Italy—Members of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP)-Europe Chapter joined the Roman Catholic community in Rome to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre where 58 people were killed, 32 of whom were media workers.

In a commemoration Mass officiated Fr. Ricky Gente, chaplain priest of the Sentro Filipino Chaplaincy at the Basilica de Sta. Prudenziana in Rome, 17 November, he reminded the parishioners of the need to keep the memory of the slain media workers and the rest of the 58 victims alive and called for support to the families of the victims in their quest for justice.

In a statement read at the Mass, NUJP Europe called the slow Ampatuan trial an indictment of the culture of impunity in the Philippines.

During the Mass, a minute of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony were held.

NUJP-Europe members light candles for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre. (Photo by macel Ingles)

Edu del Carmen, chairperson of the Rome-based Filipino organization Umangat Migrante also read a solidarity message.

“Mahigpit kaming nakikiisa sa inyong isasagawang pag-alala sa mga biktima at kasama kaming nanawagan para sa kagyat na katarungan para sa mga biktima,” del Carmen said.

The Ampatuan massacre of November 23, 2009 is regarded as the worst incident of electoral violence in Philippine history and the world’s single biggest attack on journalists.

The Philippine Supreme Court recently granted the 30-day extension on the deadline for the ruling on the cases against Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr. and close to 200 others charged for the mass killing.

NUJP-Europe Chapter members who attended the event are journalists from Germany, Spain, Norway, United Kingdom (UK), and Italy. 

The chapter was formed in 2015 by Filipino journalists from Germany, Ireland, Norway, UK, Belgium, Spain, Sweden and France. #

Broadcaster shot dead in Dumaguete

Another broadcaster was shot dead in Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental early Thursday morning, Nov. 7, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) reported.

Dindo Generoso was driving his car when he was shot dead by a lone gunman along Hibbard Avenue in Barangay Piapi around 7:30 a.m., the NUJP said citing a spot police report.

“Colleagues said he was on his way to host his program on radio station dyEM 96.7 Bai Radio,” the NUJP Visayas safety office said in its report.

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) said Generoso sustained eight gunshot wounds at different parts of his body that caused instant death.

PTFOMS added there may be more than one killer as “still unidentified perpetrators riding-in-tandem on a black motorcycle” were reportedly seen.

“This dastardly deed will not go unpunished. Whoever is behind this senseless murder will be brought to justice,” PTFOMS executive director Joel Sy Egco said in a statement.

Generoso was the second broadcaster murdered in Dumaguete City since Edmund Sestoso, who died on May 1, 2018, a day after he was shot on his way home from hosting his radio program.

The identity of Generoso’s killer and the motive for his murder was not yet clear, the NUJP said.

“If the murder is work-related, Generoso would be the 14th journalist to be murdered under the Duterte administration and the 187th since 1986,” the group added.

PTFOMS said Generoso was an anchor for development programs of the local government, including a controversial reclamation project that was halted by the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) last week.

Generoso’s murder came 10 days after the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) released its 2019 report last October 29 revealing that the Philippines has the highest number of unsolved journalist murders in the world.

The CPJ’s 2019 Global Impunity Index, which “spotlights countries where journalists are slain and their killers go free,” also placed the country, the only one from Southeast Asia on its list, at fifth place while noting that it “has been among the worst five countries nearly every year since the index was first published in 2008.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NUJP warns Badoy: You are accountable should red-baited journalists be harmed

Communications undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy is accountable should harm befall journalists she slandered as terrorists, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) warned.

Reacting to her accusations it is fronting and associated with alleged terrorist organizations, the NUJP said Badoy clearly painted the NUJP as enemies of the state.

“This is essentially an open call for state forces to threaten, harass, arrest, detain and kill journalists for doing their job,” the NUJP said.

In an interview with the television program The Chiefs last November 4 News5, Badoy said the NUJP is part of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA) and are “unequivocally” fronting for terrorist organizations.

The NUJP said Badoy’s latest accusation is part of an intensifying campaign to paint the group and other independent media organizations and journalists as “fronts” of the armed communist movement that started in December last year.

“Clearly, the intent of this red-tagging spree and all other assaults on press freedom is to intimidate the independent media into abandoning their critical stance as watchdogs and become mouthpieces of government,” the NUJP said.

Such accusations cause harm to targeted journalists however, the group said, citing the recent arrest and detention of community journalist Anne Krueger during the series of raids in Bacolod City last Oct. 31.

A reporter for the newly-established alternative media outfit Paghimutad, Krueger was accused of being a NPA member and slapped with illegal possession of firearms.

“What next? Should we, too, to expect raids and planted evidence in our offices and homes?” the NUJP asked.

Several journalists accused of being CPP and NPA members have also been victims of arrests, threats and murder attempts.

Davao Today columnist Margarita Valle was arrested at Laguindingan Airport last June 9 and held incommunicado for 18 hours in what the police later admitted was a case of mistaken identity.

In Cagayan de Oro, repeated red-baiting victim and Mindanao Gold Star Daily associate editor Cong Corrales was alleged to have a P1 million bounty on his head.

Last August 6, red-baited American journalist Brandon Lee survived a slay try.

“Clearly, the intent of this red-tagging spree and all other assaults on press freedom is to intimidate the independent media into abandoning their critical stance as watchdogs and become mouthpieces of government,” the NUJP said.

The group had been consistently critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial pronouncements against journalists and media killings.

The NUJP however said it will continue telling the truth, as “[t]he Filipino people deserve no less.”

“As for those behind these attempts to muzzle and shackle the Philippine press, should any harm befall our colleagues because of your machinations, you will be held to account,” the NUJP warned. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

[Disclosure: The reporter is currently NUJP’s deputy secretary general.]

South East Asia: Too many journalists targeted for simply doing their job

Journalists directly targeted for attack by public or private individuals is the primary threat for media workers in South East Asia with far too many facing arrest or detainment for simply for doing their jobs. Today, on International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (IDEI), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the South East Asia Journalists Unions (SEAJU) launch the preliminary findings of the 2019 annual survey of journalist working conditions in the region and call on governments and authorities to do more to enhance the safety of journalists in South East Asia.

The survey, which is the second collaboration of the IFJ and journalist unions in South East Asia, found that the single biggest threat to the safety and security of journalists was their working conditions. The survey delves into the issues impacting journalist safety and working conditions on the region as a whole, as well as taking a focused look at the situation on the ground for media workers in the seven SEAJU member countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Timor Leste.

The survey of 1,265 journalists also revealed that one in two journalists had felt insecure in their jobs in the past year. Noted key threats were physical random attacks by members of the general public, threats to journalists’ families or others close to them, and poor working conditions.

The survey also showed that 38% of journalists felt that the media freedom in their countries had worsened or seriously declined in the past 12 months. Impunity for crimes against journalists was seen as a major problem or considered to be at epidemic levels in the region.

Government and political leadership were the two biggest determinants of impunity for crimes against journalists, while the prevailing poor performance of the criminal and civil justice system to deal with such threats and acts of violence against journalists was a major contributing factor. Full results of the survey and an in-depth report will be released later this month on November 23, the anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre – the single deadliest attack on journalists in history.

Ten years on from the massacre of 58 people including 32 journalists in Maguindanao in the Southern Philippines, there is still no justice for the victims and their families. This year, the Philippines is one of the five countries that IFJ is giving focus to in its global campaign to end impunity.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the IFJ’s Philippines affiliate, has launched a month-long campaign and commemoration of the massacre. #

The chairperson of the NUJP, Nonoy Espina, said: “While a verdict on the Ampatuan massacre would be most welcome, it would not ensure complete justice with many of the suspects remaining at large after a decade, and still hardly make a dent on the dismal record of 186 journalists’ murders in the Philippines since 1986, all but a handful of which have been solved.”

In Indonesia, the chairman of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia, Abdul Manan, said the survey is a brutal reflection of the violence journalists face day today. Ironically, the authorities that should be protecting journalists are the perpetrators of too many assaults.

“We should not stop increasing our efforts to push the government to ensure the safety of journalists. We demand the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and end the culture of impunity not only to Indonesian government but also governments in the region, including Philippines,” Manan added.

The IFJ said: “Attacks on journalists are attacks on our freedom. Together with our South East Asia affiliates, today we call the authorities to take urgent action and ensure the freedom and safety of journalists and end all attempts to silence journalists.”

On Panelo’s ‘honor’

Presidential legal counsel and spokesperson Salvador Panelo again proved that both libel and cyberlibel should be decriminalized when he threatened both Rappler and the Inquirer.net with legal charges for simply reporting on an important and raging public issue. Panelo is showing the Filipino people that this country’s criminal libel and cyberlibel laws are, more often than not, used as weapons wielded by the powerful to exact revenge and to punish than a legal remedy for justice.

In a press briefing in Malacañan Palace Tuesday, Panelo said his office is drafting the libel complaints, against both media outfits for being “irresponsible” and “malicious.” To his mind, reports about his February 26, 2019 letter to the Board of Pardons and Parole forwarding Antonio Sanchez’s family’s request for executive clemency were meant to discredit him in public and to tarnish his honor.

“Balat-sibuyas” is what we Filipinos call officials who are incapable of thinking beyond their imagined hurt and fail to see that the reports are not all about them. Officials of Panelo’s kind must at least admit that, in this case, those reports helped avert the travesty of the convicted rapist and murderer’s early release. Those reports informed the public that flawed laws are being abused by powerful people and that such laws beggars revisiting. Those reports also serve to warn officials like Panelo to be careful in dispensing both duties and favors, even to old friends.

If protecting his honor is what Panelo is really after, he should refrain from carrying out his threat against Rappler and Inquirer.net. Magnanimity is key. Honor is, after all, like a nice shirt seen by others on the wearer, not a sword wielded harshly by the bearer. #

The National Directorate

NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES

September 4, 2019

Groups condemn red-tagging of 2 CDO journalists

Media groups condemned the worsening attacks against the press in the Philippines following the death threat against Mindanao Gold Star Daily associate editor Leonardo Vicente Corrales, who is also alleged to have a P1 million bounty on his head.

In a press conference, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) raised concerns over the red-tagging of Corrales, along with veteran journalist Froilan Gallardo of MindaNews.

On August 27, Corrales received flyers sent via courier service alleging that both him and Gallardo are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army.

The courier packet, sent on August 24, identified the sender as Danilo Tirso Mantangan of Sitio Camansi, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental with mobile phone number 09091020123.

“It’s an attempt to brand journalists as combatant parties of the conflict, instead of journalists and civilians,” NUJP Western Mindanao safety officer JB Deveza said.

Deveza pointed out that the flyers also attacked the credibility of the journalists by describing them as “biased” and “supporters of terrorist organizations.”

“We expect that this is not going away soon,” Deveza said, explaining the need “to express our outrage and for the state to do something about it.”

“It does not only endanger the life of our colleagues but also depriving the community of fair and unbiased reporting,” he added.

Conflict journalists

Gallardo, who has covered the various conflicts of Mindanao for since the 1980s, said he was included in the ongoing red-tagging of journalists, lawyers, church workers and activists for having recently interviewed the New People’s Army about a raid they carried out in August.

“We cannot just write the government’s side, but also the rebels’,” Gallardo said.

“If they think that by doing this they would kill the idea of journalism, they thought wrong”

Gallardo said journalists are duty-bound to get the side of rebels in the many conflicts in Mindanao as they are expected to interview government armed forces as well.

“We fail to get both sides of the story, then we are no good as journalists,” Gallardo explained.

Predicate to ‘terrorism’

Former NUJP chair Inday Espina-Varona said journalists do not work in a vacuum and called the attacks part of a national government policy stemming from President Rodrigo Duterte’s vow to “crush Asia’s longest running communist insurgency.”

“Actually, he (Duterte) had given himself his own deadline of June 2019, so there is a sense of urgency now,” she said, adding that the red-tagging on Gallardo and Corrales are connected and appeared to be in line with government’s efforts to amend the Human Security Act.

Among others, this could lead to the classification of journalists’ interviews of persons or groups tagged as terrorist as “an accessory to crime and to terrorism.”

“There is a strong attempt from government officials to not allow this (interviews with rebels) anymore because it is deemed to be giving succor to their enemies,” Varona said.

“The government’s view is: if you don’t want to be red-tagged then you need to condemn certain parties, which is not what a journalist does,” she added.

Making journalists vulnerable

Varona said the sedition charges filed against opposition figures, which stemmed from a bogus ouster matrix Malacañan Palace itself released, makes journalists vulnerable as it opens the possibility of their inclusion in the case.

“There’s a lot of institutional repression, but it’s not just enough to say ‘let’s wait for a law or a campaign’ because these attacks are not a joke and should be taken very seriously. They should be laid at the feet of a government that consistently failed to recognize these threats,” she said.

Jonathan de Santos, NUJP National Capital Region chair stressed that journalists are civilians and should not be labelled as belonging to any side in the conflict for simply doing their jobs. He added that if this can happen to journalists, it could happen to anyone.

Ms. Azenath Formoso of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) read spokesperson, Atty. Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia, CHR spokesperson, calling attacks on journalists attacks on people’s right to the truth and to be fully informed.

The CHR It also echoed calls for security forces in Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao to investigate the red-tagging and ensure the safety of targeted individuals.

The College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), meanwhile, said the attacks against Corrales and Gallardo extend to the ranks of the campus press.

“Military intelligence agents infiltrate campuses all over the country and take pictures of student publication offices,” CEGP national secretariat member Trixia Amboy said during the press conference.

In a statement, the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) for its part called the red-tagging of Corrales and Gallardo “baseless and irresponsible.”
This does not only endanger the profession and render chilling effect but also put the lives of those red-tagged and their families at risk,” PPI said.

“We urge the government to hold accountable the perpetrators of such false, malicious and dangerous propaganda,” PPI added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

CDO journalists, priest, lawyers red-tagged anew; bounty on journalist ‘first-ever’

Two journalists in Mindanao were again red-tagged, one threatened with death with a P1 million bounty on his head.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Leonardo Vicente “Cong” Corrales, associate editor of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, was again named in a new anonymous red-tagging material, along with respected veteran journalist Froilan Gallardo of Mindanews and several other Cagayan de Oro personalities and organizations.

“On Wednesday, August 28, we were informed that new anonymous red tagging material against several personalities in Cagayan de Oro, similar to the earlier flyers and banners, had been received, this time from a courier service, by Iglesia Filipina Independiente priest Fr. Rolando Abejo and a city hall employee who had also been red tagged earlier,” the NUJP said in a statement.

Part of the red-tagging material targeting Corrales.

Corrales had repeatedly been included in red-tagging materials distributed around Cagayan de Oro this year, accusing the former NUJP director of membership or links to the communist armed movement.

The red-tagging also previously included his wife and son.

A flyer from a “Black Mamba,” purportedly of the “MAT-NMR Press Club Chapter,” claims there is a P1 million bounty for the death of Cong.

The alleged bounty on Corrales may be the first on a journalist, NUJP sources said.

The courier packet that contained the flyer targeting Corrales identified the sender as Danilo Tirso Mantangan of Sitio Camansi, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental with mobile phone number 09091020123.

The packet received by a Cagayan de Oro City Hall employee Evelyn Naguio, who was earlier red-tagged herself, on August 28.

The flyer intended for Fr. Abejo also included a list of organizations and personalities supposedly linked to the rebels. Gallardo was included in this list.

The materials received by Fr. Abejo also named human rights lawyer Beverly Musni and her daughter and colleague Czarina.

Asked by the NUJP what he could have done to earn so much hatred as to seek his death, Cong said the only reason he knows is a column he wrote on the treatment Higaonon evacuees from Sitio Camansi, Barangay Banglay in Lagonglong town, Misamis Oriental had received when they descended on Cagayan de Oro to seek help from the provincial government.

Gallardo for his part said he might have been targeted because he had recently interviewed the New People’s Army on a raid in which they seized a number of weapons from security guards of Minergy Power Corporation.

“But whatever they may have done, there is nothing that justifies such harassment and vilification and, in the case of Cong, an actual death threat,” the NUJP said.

“It is not as if our colleagues have not alerted and sought the help of local officials and the local security community,” the group added.

In July, representatives of the Cagayan de Oro Chapter of the NUJP, the Cagayan de Oro Press Club and church organizations held a dialogue with local government officials to stop the red-tagging of personalities and organizations in the city.

No concrete action has yet materialized as a result of the dialogue.

“We hold that the reason the red tagging, particularly of Cong, has worsened to actually turn potentially deadly is because of the apparent lack of interest of local government and security units to protect those so threatened and to go after and prosecute those responsible for this clearly dangerous vilification,” the NUJP statement said.

The NUJP demanded that authorities and security forces in Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao ensure the safety of other journalists who find themselves in danger because of red tagging.

“We urge our colleagues in Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao to close ranks and join us demand from your local government and security officials the protection you are entitled to,” the NUJP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Gunmen kill Kidapawan broadcaster

A broadcaster was shot dead late Wednesday night, July 10, as he was driving home after his regular radio program in Kidapawan City in Mindanao.

Eduardo Dizon of Brigada News FM was waylaid by two men reportedly riding in tandem on a motorcycle.

The victim managed to drive on for some distance but died immediately after, reports said.

He suffered five gunshot wounds on his torso.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned Dizon’s murder and said he may be the 13th journalist killed under the Rodrigo Duterte government and 186th since 1986.

The NUJP said Dizon’s murder was likely related to his work as a broadcaster.

“We have confirmed that a few days before his death, he had filed a report with the Kidapawan police after he received a challenge to a ‘duel’ and his station’s hotline received a text message from mobile number 09353435064 that said: ‘Bantay mo Brigada mamatay unya mo bantay2 mo kay naa mupusil ninyo,’ the NUJP said in its statement today. (Watch out Brigada because you will die, just wait someone will shoot you.)

Kodao sources said that Dizon had been critical of the alleged Kapa Worldwide Ministry Ponzi scheme that Duterte ordered stopped.

The NUJP said Dizon’s murder again underscores how the overwhelming failure of government to ensure justice for violent crime can only invite even more bloodshed by perpetrators emboldened by the certainty that they can literally get away with murder.

“We demand that authorities solve Dizon’s murder and ensure the perpetrators are caught and successfully prosecuted,” the NUJP said.

The group said it demands that government do its duty and end the culture of impunity that continues to embolden those for whom violence is the preferred means to resolve disputes. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

ALERT: NUJP red-tagged as Cagayan de Oro media commemorates Press Freedom Week

27 May 2019

A streamer tagging the National Union Of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and other activist groups as allies of the ‘terrorist NPA’ was found draped at the foot of the monument honoring Press Freedom at the Provincial Capitol grounds in Cagayan de Oro.

The other groups similarly branded as ‘terrorists’ are the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM), the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), the the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), the League of Filipino Students (LFS), the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP), and the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE).

The streamer was found by members of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (CLUB) who gathered at the Press Freedom monument to launch the week-long commemoration of the 37th Press Freedom Week.

The streamer was later set ablaze following a 7am mass attended by members of the COPC.

Photo by Menzie Montes

“We condemn the red-tagging of the NUJP,”club member Uriel Quilinguing, a former president of the COPC as well as a former chairman of the NUJP-Cagayan de Oro Chapter, said.

Quilinguing said the COPC and other media groups in Cagayan de Oro City condemn what they called ‘baseless accusations’ against the NUJP.

Quilinguing called on the media to stay united in the face of threats which, he said is also the theme of Press Freedom Week.

Pamela Jay Orias, chairperson of the Cagayan de Oro Chapter of the NUJP, said a free press is a hallmark of a free and democratic society.

“A critical press serves the public interest and should therefore not be subjected to attacks,” Orias said.

No group has come out to claim responsibility for the red-tagging.

Reference:

JB R. Deveza
NUJP Safety Officer for western Mindanao