MANILA – The National Press Club of the Philippines has passed a special resolution calling on the incoming Marcos administration to continue supporting the operation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS).
“As one of the national media organizations actively engaged as media-partner and stakeholder of the task force since its creation by President Duterte in 2016, we have seen how effective the task force has been in fulfilling its mandate of giving protection to the life, liberty and safety of all media workers,” NPC president Lydia Bueno said in a news release on Friday.
“We believe its continuation under the Marcos administration would send the strong message to the world that it is just as committed, if not more, in upholding a free and responsible press that was started by the Duterte administration,” she added.
Under Special Resolution No. 1, series of 2022, the NPC noted that since the creation of the PTFoMS in October 2016, media workers have relied on the task force as their direct line to the Office of the President for prompt action on their concerns.
Bueno also noted that despite its limited resources as an ad-hoc body, the task force has made significant impact in the country’s media landscape and it is now also the repository of the most authoritative and documented reports on all cases of media-related violence in the country.
In the May 9 elections, Bueno noted that through the joint effort of the task force, its media partners and other government agencies, not a single media-related violence was recorded by the Philippine National Police.
“The lack of media-related violence in the May 9 national and local elections is not only a testament to the success of the task force but it is also a first in the history of our elections and something that we should all be proud of,” Bueno added.
The NPC urged President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to consider strengthening the task force further by issuing an executive order converting it into a Presidential commission for media security that will “broaden its power in effectively addressing all concerns related to the country’s media sector”.
The NPC endorsed PTFoMS Executive Director, Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, as chair of the proposed body.
Egco is also a former NPC president.
“We are confident that Undersecretary Egco would be able to fulfill the new President’s instructions and expectations when it comes to the safety and well-being of all members of the press,” Bueno added.
Meanwhile, the Publishers’ Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI) also believes that the power of the PTFoMS can be enhanced with the formation of a full-pledged commission.
“We likewise believe that president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will surely welcome this latest development in the journalism industry into his administration,” Nelson Santos, PAPI president, said in another statement.
“PAPI would also like to endorse Undersecretary Egco, given his sterling record and effective leadership that earned the respect and admiration of the media and media organizations here and abroad,” Santos said. (PNA)