GMA Assures Journalists; Vows That Killers of Media Men Will Be Punished P5-M Press Freedom Fund Established

Manila Bulletin, May 17, 2005 | Go to article overview

GMA Assures Journalists; Vows That Killers of Media Men Will Be Punished P5-M Press Freedom Fund Established


Byline: FERDIE J. MAGLALANG

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday vowed to stop the violent attacks against Filipino journalists and said she has ordered law enforcement agencies to run after the masterminds and perpetrators of these attacks.

The President made the pledge as she witnessed the signing of a covenant between the government and the media sector that seeks further coordination in solving the numerous attacks against Filipino journalists.

"I have tasked the government, our administration to leave no stone unturned in tracking down these cold-blooded killers. The whole criminal justice system has been alerted and put in motion," she said.

During the ceremony, R5 million for the Press Freedom Fund was set aside as cash rewards to tipsters and financial aid to families of slain journalists, among others.

Of the R5-million fund provided by Arroyo and House Speaker Jose de Venecia, R2 million will be used by a "quick reaction team" to investigate killings of mediamen and for financial assistance to the families of the slain Filipino journalists.

Another R2 million will be made available to the Philippine National Police (PNP) as reward for tipsters or informers who can supply information leading to the resolution of the killings of journalists.

One million pesos will also be channeled to Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez for those who will turn state witnesses in the slays of mediamen.

The Chief Executive said the continued killings of Filipino journalists, most of which were perpetrated in the provinces, have already reached a "frightening" proportion that depicts a "culture of violence" that is now prevalent in the country.

"The attacks against our journalists are frightening and must be stopped. These acts of wanton violence against the men and women who form the very foundation of a free press and open society are acts of violence against the nation itself," she said.

Sixty-eight mediamen have been killed since the restoration of democracy in the country 1986, with six killed this year alone. Cases of mediamen killings have remained largely unresolved. …

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