THE Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) is now focusing on the resolution of 72 “active” cases involving violence against the media.
The active incidents are part of the 202 media-related cases recorded by the PTFoMs.
Aside from the active cases, the list included 101 cases which have been resolved and 29, which prescribed by operation of law.
Among the resolved cases were the four incidents of media attacks under the Marcos administration, according to Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Vilacaria-Garafil.
“For this, I commend our law enforcement bodies, particularly the PNP [Philippine National Police] and the NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] for working closely with the PTFoMS in solving these cases,” Garafil said in her speech at the meeting of the PTFoMS last August 16.
Despite the “scant” resources of the PTFoMS, PCO Assistant Secretary Michel del Rosario noted the government will prioritize the resolution of the cases, which are work-related.
During the meeting, PTFoMS also talked about the case of Jose Rizal Pajares, a reporter of Radyo Natin, who was arrested on August 2, 2023, for supposedly violating the Data Privacy Act (DPA) by scanning a police blotter.
The policeman who detained Pajares claimed the reporter violated PNP Memorandum Circular No. 2020-073, which safeguarded the personal data in the blotter.
However, the PTFoMS reiterated the position reiterated by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) that such private information processed for journalistic purposes is exempted from the DPA.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it will be issuing a legal opinion on the matter to serve as a guide to police and the media.
Pending that clarification, PTFoMS advised reporters to seek first the approval of the precinct’s police public information officers (PIOs) for their access to data in the police blotter.
PTFoMS executive director Paul M. Gutierrez said they are set to hold another meeting in November to continue with their discussion on the definition of a “media worker” within the ambit of AO-1 (Administrative Order No. 1).
Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte created the PTFoMS in 2016 through his AO-1 to address incidents of violence against the media.
Led by the DOJ, the PTFoMS members include the PCO; Department of National Defense/Armed Forces of the Philippines (DND/AFP); Department of the Interior and Local Government/Philippine National Police (DILG/PNP); Office of the Solicitor General (OSG); and, the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC).