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NUJP salutes CDO colleagues’ unity in defense of press freedom

28 May 2019

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines hails our colleagues in Cagayan de Oro for their show of unity against unrelenting efforts to suppress freedom of the press and of expression.

When unidentified persons draped a black streamer naming so-called communist rebel “front organizations” – including the NUJP – on the fence of Cagayan de Oro’s Press Freedom Monument at Vicente de Lara Park, it was clear that we were not the sole media group targeted by this red-tagging operation, something we have been subjected to since late last year.

That the incident happened on the first day of Cagayan de Oro’s celebration of Press Freedom Week, an annual event dear to the hearts of our colleagues in the City of Golden Friendship, indicates it was intended as a warning to all journalists to go easy on critical reportage and commentary.

The response of our colleagues from the different media organization in Cagayan de Oro was as swift as it was appropriate: they tore the streamer down and set it alight, while vowing to remain united and not be cowed by those seeking to suppress the full exercise of democratic rights.

At a time when the threats to the profession and our basic rights and liberties continue to worsen, unfortunately abetted by a contemptible few who have chosen to betray the profession of truth, the example set by the media of Cagayan de Oro is proof of what we have maintained all along, that the united community of independent Filipino journalists is capable of holding back the darkness that seeks to engulf us once again.

The NUJP National Directorate

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

NUJP on Duterte’s insult of Tordesillas

14 May 2019
Once again, the foul-mouthed misogynist who is the leader of our nation turns to personal insults when he will not or, most likely, cannot offer a credible explanation to his badly concocted and fictitious accusations against critics.

Asked by reporters in Davao City to explain the so-called “matrix” purporting to show a plot to oust him, which his spokesman Salvador Panelo at first attributed to him only to later claim it came from an unknown source, President Rodrigo Duterte insisted it was “authentic” as “Bikoy,” the erstwhile hooded character who appeared in a series of videos accusing the chief executive and members of his family of involvement in the drug trade and was later claimed by Peter Joemel Advincula.

He then vented his ire on veteran journalist Ellen Tordesillas of Vera Files, one of those implicated in the matrix, who he called “every inch a prostitute.”

And while he did not name them, Duterte was apparently referring to other journalists included in the document when he referred to “professional twisters” who “are bayad sa (paid by the) Western …”

There is no question Duterte’s tiresome habit of spewing personal insults is intended to intimidate his targets into silence or submission.

Alas for him, his fits and tantrums speak more about his character than those he would smear.

His are the tactics of the thug who resorts to the bludgeon because he cannot reason, and even then he fails miserably.

We know for a fact that Ellen possesses more courage than he can ever hope to have beyond his macho posturing. So, too, do the other journalists he vilifies. As do all those who comprise the community of independent Filipino journalists.

Mr. Duterte may choose to ignore the lessons of history but does so at his own peril.

But of one thing we are sure, as history has amply proven. Despots come and eventually go. The truth and freedom will always outlast them.

The NUJP National Directorate

CEGP honors NUJP’s Espina with MH del Pilar Award

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) awarded National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) national chairperson Jose Jaime “Nonoy” Espina its highest honor to its alumni at the start of the World Press Freedom concert in Quezon City last Friday, May 3.

In a special ceremony, the CEGP finally handed the award to Espina who was supposed to receive it during the Guild’s 77th National Students Press Convention at the University of the Philippines—Visayas (UPV) in Cebu City last March 9.

The awardee failed to attend the convention due to a family emergency.

The award, named after the journalist, patriot and hero Del Pilar, was given to Espina for being “a pillar of press freedom.”

“On top of his distinguished journalism career, the awardee is, without doubt, a leading force in the defense of press freedom and freedom of expression in the country today,” the CEGP’s citation, read by its secretary general Paula Sabrine Janer, said.

“As a multi-term NUJP director and now its national chairperson, the awardee steadfastly stands for these rights and leads his organization to their defense. Whatever prestige that the NUJP enjoys as a media organization here and abroad, it is owed in great part to our awardee’s leadership,” the Guild’s citation added.

Espina was a high school campus journalist in his hometome Bacolod City before becoming the editor of Pagbutlak, UPV’s college student publication in Iloilo City.

He was a member of the community media group Correspondents, Broadcasters and Reporters Association—Action News Service or COBRA-ANS of Negros Occidental that was part of the “Mosquito Press” that fought the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. He also became a reporter and editor of various local and national media outifts.

“[I]n honoring our awardee’s progressive, patriotic and disinguished career in journalism and for his principled and brave defense of press freedom and human rights in the Philippines, the CEGP awards this year’s Gawad Marcelo H. Del Pilar Award to a journalist worth emulating by student journalists everywhere,” the CEGP added.

NUJP national chairperson Nonoy Espina with his Marcelo H. Del Pilar Award trophy and certificate from the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. (Photo by Lito Ocampo)

In his acceptance speech, Espina said he is just a journalist who stands by his profession.

“I realized the importance of our profession in democracy, in society. I came to love this profession when I saw for myself the real situation of the people, especially the marginalized,” Espina said.

He added that he does not see journalism as the people’s voice but a platform so their stories are told.

“I have come to love journalism because, in my three decades of being a journalist, people sometimes come up to me to thank me for writing about their struggles,” Espina said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Rappler correspondent evicted from CDO school where Duterte appeared

NUJP ALERT
March 25, 2019

Rappler’s Cagayan de Oro City correspondent was told to leave the campus of the University of Science and Technology in Southern Philippines (USTP) Sunday, March 24, hours before President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrived to lead the campaign rally of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.

Rappler correspondent Bobby Lagsa said he was outside the USTP gymnasium, where the campaign rally was underway, doing person-on-the-street interviews when he was approached by a staff of the Media Accreditation and Relations Office (MARO) and told to leave the campus “Para ‘di na tayo magkahiyaan (to avoid embarrassment).”

Lagsa said he was doing interviews outside the venue after he was denied accreditation to cover the event the day before.

He said he tried to get accredited via the Cagayan de Oro City Information Office (CIO) which referred his application to the MARO.

Lagsa said he did not encounter any problem getting inside the USTP campus at about 5 pm and was able to interview several persons outside the gymnasium before he was told to leave.

He said he was wearing his Rappler ID while doing the interviews but said he did not try to get inside the gymnasium. #

NUJP condemns harassment of Gumaca radio station

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns the harassment being perpetrated by Gumaca Quezon Mayor Erwin Caralian and his brother, Vice Mayor El Chor Caralian against Radyo Natin Gumaca.

Radyo Natin Operations Manager Mitch Hernando complains that despite having complied with all the necessary papers, the station is being denied renewal of the Mayor’s permit until now.  She added the duo have also made it hard for the station to secure a business permit for several years in the past. 

But this year, Hernando said the Mayor even went to the extent of trying to conspire with the National Telecommunications Commission in harassing the radio station.

Hernando said the station’s mother network, MBC, had told her Tuesday, March 12, that Mayor Caralian was at the NTC, alleging that Radyo Natin is operating illegally, and wanted the station closed down.

​Two days after, on Thursday, representatives from the NTC, Business Permit and Licensing Office and the Treasury Department indeed came to the station to “inspect.”  After the inspection, however, Hernando claims she received assurance from the NTC representative that the station will not be shut  down.

NTC inspects RN-Gumaca’s registration papers. (Photo from Radyo Natin-Gumaca’s Facebook page)

This is plain harassment meant to intimidate the station and force it to just toe the line.

Media groups have recorded at least 99 cases of attacks and threats against the press during the first 22 months of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

The NUJP urges members of the media to resist these attacks on press freedom.

This we will say again and again, the independent Philippine press, the Filipino journalists and the freedom-loving Filipinos will make sure that such attacks will not succeed in silencing us.

NATIONAL DIRECTORATE
Hotline +639175155991

NUJP hails media workers’ victory vs GMA contractualization

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) hailed the Court of Appeals (CA) decision declaring former talents of broadcast giant GMA network as regular workers.

“We congratulate our colleagues in the Talents Association of GMA (TAG) for courageously sustaining and winning the struggle for their rights and welfare,” the NUJP said in a statement, praising the workers’ unity and determination to fight for their rights as an inspiration to all media workers.

In a 19-page February 20 decision, the CA’s Special 14th Division upheld an earlier decision by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) declaring more than a hundred GMA network talents as regular employees.

The CA also junked the petition for certiorari filed by GMA 7 management, saying it lacked merit.

The appellate court said the talents are regular employees and production crew members who undoubtedly performed functions necessary and essential to GMA’s broadcasting business.

“Truly, without their work, petitioner GMA would have nothing to air, hence the private respondents’ services in the former’s television program were unquestionably necessary and essential,” the decision reads.

Written by Associate Justice Zenaida Galapate-Laguilles, the decision also said that the workers contracts have been repeatedly renewed, indicating the necessity and desirability of their (talents’) work in the usual course of GMA’s business.

The decision also said the four-fold test to determine employer-employee relationship was established: selection and engagement of the employee, payment of wages, power of dismissal, and power to control the employee’s conduct.

In June 4, 2014, TAG, composed mostly of contractual employees, filed a complaint with the NLRC.

It also held a protest rally on June 4, 2014 before the GMA headquarters, along with supportive organizations such as the NUJP and the Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Several TAG members were eventually fired for participating in the rally.

In a statement, TAG said it welcomes the decision declaring they are regular workers.

“But the purpose was always clear to us — to shine the light on a prevalent issue that affects millions of Filipinos and to increase the pressure on companies and the government, to stop this unjust, inhumane and illegal labor treatment. To not do so would be to turn our backs on our duties as journalists,” the group said.

The NUJP called on the owners and managers of GMA Network to do right by their workers and immediately implement the CA decision.

The union also urged all media houses to end their contractualization policies and engage their employees in crafting ways to improve their welfare. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Mindanao journalist condemns ‘red-tagging’

A Mindanao journalist condemned his inclusion “by cowards” in a list of supposed communist symphatizers in Cagayan de Oro City, denying he and his family were ever members of the underground revolutionary group.

“My wife is a marketing executive with Gold Star Daily, where I am the associate editor. My son is a regular staff of the Commission on Elections-10 and is currently serving in the commission’s city office,” Mindanao Gold Star Daily associate editor and Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) board director Leonardo Vicente “Cong” Corrales told Kodao.

Corrales said he denounces the list given by an unidentified person to a security guard during the Hustisya-Northern Mindanao assembly and launching at the Philtown Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City this morning.

Corrales said the list  does not only intimidate him in his work as a journalist but has endangered his family as well.

“We know fully well that red-tagging is a virtual death sentence. On my end, I will not let this cowardly act push me to silence. I will continue speaking truth to power,” Corrales said.

Human rights group Karapatan in a statement said it suspects that the person who handed the security guard the two brown envelopes containing copies of the list was a military agent.

“Each envelope contained 13 copies of flyers listing organisations of youth and teachers, and tagging names of church workers, lawyers, rights advocates and that of a journalist,” Karapatan said.

The list given to a security guard during a human rights-related event.

Among the names listed in the flyers were Iglesia Filipino Independiente Bishop Felixberto Calang, Fr. Rolando Abejo of Movement Against Tyranny-Northern Mindanao, Karapatan Northern Mindanao spokesperson Fr. Khen Apus, human rights lawyers Beverly Musni, Czarina Musni and Beverly Ann Musni.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) immediately condemned the listing of its former director.

“There is nothing more cowardly and deplorable than to vilify persons and put them in mortal peril behind the cloak of anonymity. And as has happened all to often, red-tagging is not mere intimidation. All too often it can be a virtual death sentence,” the NUJP said in a statement.

The COPC for its part said it stands with Corrales  as it called on authorities to investigate the incident. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NUJP beefs up alert and response system for media victims of violence and harassments ahead of mid-term polls

In a bid to be more efficient and effective in responding to continued attacks on media practitioners, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has strengthened and expanded its regional safety offices throughout the country.

As the country heads for mid-term elections in May, the NUJP media alert system and on-call safety officers become doubly important and necessary as pens, laptops, cellphones and cameras in news gathering.

It is during elections that attacks on media practitioners are unusually high.

The Ampatuan massacre that happened in 2009 was the worst election-related mass murder of media persons in history.

From one safety unit in NCR until the middle of last year, NUJP has extended its reach to four other regions, namely, Luzon, Visayas, Eastern and Western Mindanao.

The Regional Safety Officers form part of NUJP alert and response support services for journalists in distress.

Incidents where reporters, photographers and other members of media are harassed, threatened or killed in the line of duty are reported to NUJP through its hotlines.

The first responder verifies and documents reported incidents and issues alert advisory to news media.

NUJP has also beefed up the number of media safety officers to a total of five, one for each region.

Each responder is on call 24-7 and can be reached thru the ff hotline numbers: (best to graphics) Regional Safety offices

Eastern Mindanao

Globe 09453503459

Smart 09398475242

Western Mindanao

Globe 09453503455

Smart 09398475177

Visayas

Globe 09453503456

Smart 09398475195

Luzon

Globe 09453513454

Smart 09398475174

NCR

Globe 09175155991

Smart 09398475329

The NUJP Safety office has also announced a series of safety trainings for media practitioners up to 2019.

In November 2018, the Freedom for Media Freedom for All documented a total of 99 media attacks from July 2016 to October, 2018.

The Freedom for Media Freedom for All is composed of Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and NUJP. #

Journalists start countdown to 10th anniversary of Ampatuan Massacre

Journalists led by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines held a candle-lighting ceremony to start the countdown to the 10th anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre.

Reporters and other media workers as well as media organizations gathered last Wednesday at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani to denounce the slow trial of the suspected perpetrators of the gruesome incident of November 23, 2009 that killed 58 persons, including 32 journalists.

The journalists vowed to press the demand for full justice to the victims of the massacre dubbed as the worst case of election violence in the Philippines and the worst single attack on journalists in human history. (Video by Joseph Cuevas)