MANILA – Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) not to delay further the setting up of a hotline for the protection of journalists facing risks for exposing anomalies in pursuit of public good.
“The PNP should lose no time in establishing this point of contact that will enable our beleaguered journalists to report their predicament and receive timely help,” Poe, chairman of the Senate committee on public information and mass media, stressed.
Poe said the PNP can make do with its current resources to promptly start the hotline and then strengthen its operations with the allocation of the necessary budget for the purpose.
“This is a critical and important manifestation of our will to stop media killings, a tangible action expected from our government by our threatened journalists who serve as bastion of democracy and social justice,” Poe said.
The lady senator will support funding for the dedicated media hotline during deliberations for the 2015 General Appropriations Act to ensure the program’s institutionalization.
PNP Spokesman Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac earlier said that the PNP will establish a dedicated hotline for threatened journalists in response to Poe’s call during a Senate hearing that tackled media killings in the country. The said hotline will be separate and distinct from the current PNP hotline 09178475757, Sindac pointed out.
In a recent statement, Sindac said that the PNP “is implementing more tangible actions to fulfill its crucial role in complementing national government efforts to resolve media killings and other threats to press freedom.” Police investigations have led to the conviction of nine people responsible for separate cases of media killings since 2001, he said. The nine were involved in seven different murder cases: those of Marlene Garcia-Esperat, Edgar Damalerio, Klein Cantoneros, Armando Pace, Rowell Endrinal, Gerardo Ortega and Arecia Padregao.
Earlier at the Senate hearing she led, Poe underscored the pressing need to ensure the putting up of direct line.
“Media should have a direct line to the PNP so that if there is any threat, they will feel they have refuge and protection,” she said.