June 1, 2023

The top official of the Police Regional Office Cordillera assured there will not be a repeat of the incident involving the National Capital Region Police Office and GMA 7 reporter JP Soriano where police visited the reporter’s house to check if there are threats to his security.

In an effort to address threats to media in wake of the killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid on Oct. 3, NCRPO and the Eastern Police District have visited the houses of Manila-based journalists.

PRO-Cor Director B/Gen. Mafelino Bazar told reporters the regional office here will soon organize a “small group discussion” with members of media in the Cordillera for the crafting of guidelines on media security.

Bazar said the initiative of visiting the residences of journalists had good intention but was not coordinated reason why Soriano and the different media organizations were averse about the media security initiative of the NCRPO.

“‘Yung dalaw ay initiative ng pulis doon (NCRPO). Wala lang prior coordination kaya parang may invasion of privacy,” Bazar said, referring to the unannounced visit of police in civilian clothes at Soriano’s residence.

In a post on Twitter, Soriano said while the police explained their intent of visiting him, the gesture appeared to have violated the Data Privacy Act. He added coordination should have been done first with the company he was working in.

In a statement, the National Union of Journalists of Philippines said while it appreciates the gesture of the police, the uncoordinated visit only added to the anxiety of journalists.

The NUJP said even assuming that the NCRPO’s move was done in good faith, meetings and dialogues are best done through newsrooms or through the various press corps, press clubs and journalists’ organizations.

In response, the Philippine National Police assured it will beef up its guidelines on media security. In the Cordillera, no media has reported a threat to their security. – Rimaliza A. Opiña