MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a bill designating August 30 as "National Press…
PTFoMS appreciates PRRD’s proclamation of August 30 as Press Freedom Day.
MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), through its Executive Director, Undersecretary Joel M. Sy Egco, praised President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for signing the long-awaited law designating August 30 as “National Press Freedom Day” in the Philippines.
“All of our efforts and hard work have paid off. “As a veteran journalist, I have worked with our media allies, such as the Katipunan ng mga Alagad ni Marcelo H. Del Pilar (KAMPI), to enact legislation that will promote press freedom while also highlighting our identity as a nation of freedom-loving Filipinos that can be traced back to colonial times,” Egco said in a statement.
“This is solid proof of President Duterte’s steadfast and unwavering commitment to defend journalistic freedom in the Philippines, not just via words.” “August 30 is a very special day in the Philippines because it is the birthday of Marcelo H. del Pilar, aka Plaridel, one of our national heroes and widely regarded as the father of Philippine journalism,” he continued.
“Our President is a man who takes action. While previous presidents were content to simply state their commitment to press freedom, only President Duterte has made significant progress in this regard, signing a number of measures to protect this sacred right, including Administrative Order No. 1 in 2016, which established the PTFoMS under the Office of the President with a dedicated mandate to protect media workers, the first of its kind in the world; and Executive Order No. 2, which operationalized the PTFoMS.
The government is also pressing for the passage of the proposed Media Workers Welfare Act (MWWA), which aims to improve the economic well-being of media workers, according to Egco. Hazard pay, a livable wage, job stability, safety equipment, as well as additional insurance and hospitalization benefits are all included in the bill.
PTFoMS was involved in the bill’s creation and pushing for its approval in Congress.
“These are the reasons why, in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) recent 2021-2022 ‘World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development Global Report,’ the Philippines was highlighted as one of only a few countries in the world that have implemented “good practices and positive measures” in the safety of journalists,” he added.
The establishment by the Duterte Administration of “a dedicated task force for the safety of journalists,” according to the UNESCO study, is already being replicated in other areas of the world.
“It is my sincere hope that the next president, at the very least, will continue these concrete steps taken by President Duterte to promote press freedom in the country as these are some of his very important legacies to the Filipino people,” Egco said, noting that the signing comes as the world prepares to commemorate World Press Freedom Day next week.
It should be remembered that UNESCO designated May 3 as World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of press freedom and to remind governments of their responsibility to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The National Press Freedom Day law, on the other hand, is expected to raise Filipinos’ awareness of the critical role of responsible journalism in nation-building and the need to avoid all forms of violence against journalists and other media practitioners.
To ensure a meaningful commemoration and celebration of National Press Freedom Day, the law requires all government agencies, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, government-owned and controlled corporations, local government units, and the private sector, to provide sufficient time and opportunity for people to engage and participate in any related activity to be held in the premises of their respectionionionionionionionionionionionionionionionionion
Furthermore, the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority are mandated to lead public and private schools in organizing activities to raise awareness about press freedom in consultation with the Office of the President, government, and private media organizations.