The Department of Interior and Local Government has ordered the National Police to designate lawmen who would provide protection to members of the media who may face threats or intimidation in the course of the 2022 elections.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año directed PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos to assign “media security focal persons” in each province and city nationwide.
He issued a memorandum to that effect upon the request of Presidential Task Force of Media Security (PTFoMS) executive director Joel Egco, in anticipation of a possible increase in violent incidents involving mediamen during the election season.
Based on the memorandum, the PNP is directed to designate a focal person for media security who will be the first to receive information and respond to any threats leveled against a media worker and shall also directly coordinate with assigned special agents of the PTFoMS and assist the Task Force in expediting the resolution of cases of violence against journalists.
Año expressed optimism that the presence of such lawmen will be an effective deterrent or strategy for a quick response measure to protect journalists at the local level.
Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that the DILG, as a member-agency PTFoMS, shares Egco’s views which are based on data on the prevalence of media violence during the election season.
“The infamous massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao in November 2009 is a constant reminder that media workers are mostly vulnerable a few months before, during, and a few months after every election,” Malaya said.