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The Duterte administration provides a “safe atmosphere” for the Philippine media, according to a PTFoMS executive.

MANILA, Philippines — Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), claimed on Tuesday that the Duterte government has created a “safe atmosphere” for Philippine journalists.

Egco claimed the outgoing administration was able to stop the supposed “dark chapter” in the history of Philippine media with the PTFoMS on the second day of the Duterte Legacy Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

Because of its accomplishments in accelerating the investigation and settlement of cases of media-related violence, the PTFoMS is “certainly a Duterte legacy,” according to Egco.

Until President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, Egco said, media workers in the Philippines were in a “very dark place.”

“Before the task force was formed, the Philippine media was in a very terrible position, in a very, very dark place,” he remarked, referring to the single, bloodiest attack against journalists known as the Ampatuan, Maguindanao massacre. “This episode, as well as others involving media violence, served as the impetus for the formation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security.”

Egco was referring to the Maguindanao massacre, which claimed the lives of 59 persons, including 32 journalists, on November 23, 2009.

According to Egco, Duterte’s marching order to safeguard the safety and security of the country’s journalists has pushed the PTFoMS to work hard to address media killings.

The PTFoMS’ efforts paid off, with 52 incidents of media killings leading to guilty verdicts, according to Egco, who added that 69 killers of media workers face life in jail.

“The PTFoMS is unwavering, steadfast, and aggressive, because failure is not an option for us, as it has been since the beginning. As a result, I am certain that we were able to deliver. Under the banner of tapang and malasakit, ito po ang ating legacy, ang legacy ng ating Pangulo (courage and compassion, this is our legacy, the President’s legacy) “According to Egco.

Press freedom must be protected.

According to Egco, the Philippines, which was ranked as the most hazardous country for journalists from 2019 to 2016, has witnessed the “most improvement” since being named the “greatest mover” in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual Global Impunity Index in 2020.

He stated, “The PTFoMS is undeniably a Dutert legacy.” “We were able to sow the seeds of change in this region of the world when it comes to press freedom.”

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Administrative Order 1 on October 11, 2016, establishing the PTFoMS to make the Philippines a safer place for journalists.

The Department of Justice leads PTFoMS, which is co-chaired by the Presidential Communications Operations Office. The Department of National Defense, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Office of the Solicitor General, the Presidential Human Rights Committee, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and the National Bureau of Investigation are all members of the committee.

The PTFoMS is a “great illustration of the whole-of-government strategy,” according to Egco.

“The task group is convened by the secretaries of the Department of Justice and the PCOO and reports directly to the President’s office. As members, we have a large number of police enforcement agencies. As observers and resource persons, we have both public and private stakeholders on this task group “According to Egco.

Accomplishments

During the Duterte Legacy Summit, Egco lauded the PTFoMS’ achievements, which include the establishment of a 24/7 hotline (+639178406790), the formation of a quick response team, and increased online visibility to ensure prompt response to complaints, grievances, or requests for assistance by media workers who have been threatened or intimidated.

According to Egco, the PTFoMs was also able to help over 80 media professionals who were being intimidated unfairly.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the task team also gave financial assistance to select media employees, he noted.

“At the height of the Covid-19 outbreak, the task force worked alongside media organizations and other benefactors to provide relief and financial assistance to media employees,” he stated.

In January 2022, the PTFoMS will host the inaugural Philippine Summit on Online Media Security, as well as the first Cybersecurity Forum for Media Practitioners in March 2022, according to Egco.

He went on to say that the task force worked with worldwide communities and media advocacy organizations to promote press freedom and journalist safety.

“Despite the fact that there are many unfavorable complaints mula sa ating mga kababayan, there are many nice evaluations in the atin. However, okay lang po, yun hindi kami nadi-distract ng mga negative dahil kami ay nakatutok sa aming trabaho (We are receiving positive feedback despite negative criticism from our fellow countrymen.) But that’s fine; we’re not distracted by negative feedback because we’re focused on our work) “he stated

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