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
"We have made high-profile
arrests, recently, most prominently that of Retired Major General
Jovito Palparan for alleged violations of human rights," the Chief
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
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
President Aquino also acknowledged that the media is
part and parcel of society, and press people must always tell the
That role also means “accurately representing the
national condition by striking a healthy balance between the
positive and the negative,” he said. PND (as)
story - 10.22.14)