Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pres. Aquino renews commitment to stop media killings

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday made an assurance that his administration will continue to work to stop attacks on members of the press “until this number reaches zero."

In his speech during the Annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines in Marco Polo Ortigas, the President said things have changed since the martial law years, as the country has returned to democratic rule.

‘We no longer live in a country where the media is muzzled, or where the government tries to impose its will on journalists,” he said.

In fact, he said, his administration has been in active pursuit of all those who have allegedly committed extralegal killings, including those involving media, and the public can already see the effects of the government’s efforts.

"We have made high-profile arrests, recently, most prominently that of Retired Major General Jovito Palparan for alleged violations of human rights," the Chief Executive noted.

There is also a significant reduction of recorded or validated extralegal killings, from a total of 168 during the Arroyo government to 42 in the four years of the present administration, he said.

"Indeed, one could consider this as progress, but make no mistake: Our administration will not be content until this number reaches zero," he emphasized.

The President in turn requested the press to protect the truth.

"As we continue our efforts to bring to justice all those who have resorted to violence or intimidation to skew or hide the truth, my only request is that the media fulfill its obligation of protecting the truth as well," he said.

The President expressed hope that in making their news reports, the press would exert more effort in defining the problem and describing the situation accurately.

“If there was a crime committed, for instance, then media men must be clear about the facts, and the motivations of the culprits to solve the problem,” he said.

President Aquino also acknowledged that the media is part and parcel of society, and press people must always tell the truth.

That role also means “accurately representing the national condition by striking a healthy balance between the positive and the negative,” he said. (PCOO News Release)

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