Statement of the Commission on Human Rights lauding PTFoMS for the prompt action on the intimidation committed against journalists during a demolition incident in Pampanga

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights lauding PTFoMS for the prompt action on the intimidation committed against journalists during a demolition incident in Pampanga

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) commends the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) on its proactive efforts to conduct an investigation regarding the reports received on journalists being threatened while covering a violent demolition at Sitio Balubad, Brgy. Anunas, Angeles City, Pampanga on 12 March 2024.

Charges on robbery with intimidation, grave threat, grave coercion, oral defamation, and illegal defamation are currently being filed against the identified suspect who confronted K5 News Olongapo reporter Rowena Quejada. In line with her expressed intention to forward a complaint, we support the point of PTFoMS that there is a “gross violation of Quejada’s civil and media rights” upon further investigation of the incident.

It must be noted that PTFoMS also addressed the reports of intimidation committed against Rappler reporter Joann Manabat, who decided to not pursue charges.

As an institution whose mandate also encompasses the promotion and protection of the rights of journalists, the Commission is one with PTFoMS in ensuring that media safety remains to be a priority of the Philippine government. It is crucial for the freedom of the press to thrive as a bedrock of Philippine democracy, thus the need to establish holistic approaches for media workers to access justice. As part of the Inter-agency Task Force on Media Security, the CHR reaffirms its commitment to work hand-in-hand with the government in fulfilling this duty on behalf of all media workers in the country.

The CHR, as the country’s National Human Rights Institution, stays firm on its mandate to immediately conduct an independent investigation on reported cases of human rights violations committed against all sectors, especially the vulnerable and marginalised. Consistent to our mantra, “CHR ng Lahat: Naglilingkod maging sino ka man,” we continue to fulfill our obligation as the main duty-bearer for the human rights of all Filipinos while keeping our independence in seeking truth in human rights issues that prevail all over the country.###