MANILA – Media organizations that have no links to communist movement should be worry-free, Malacañang said on Sunday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo assured principled journalists in the country that President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration would not take actions that could potentially harm them.
“Alam mo, kung wala kang ginagawa, hindi ka dapat matakot. Nakita mo naman si Presidente, kahit anong criticized mo sa kanila, hindi naman niya pinapansin (You know, if you are not doing anything wrong, you should not be afraid. In fact, the President ignores those who keep on criticizing him),” he said in an interview with DZIQ.
Panelo gave the assurance, a day after the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) denounced the renewed red-tagging of local journalists in the city.
In a statement issued on Saturday, COPC president Manuel Jaudian condemned in “strongest terms” the “black, cheap” propaganda to put its officials and members in jeopardy by accusing them of being left-leaning individuals.
Red-tagged were MindaNews writer and Inquirer correspondent Froilan Gallardo, Mindanao Goldstar Daily associate editor Cong Corrales, Mindanao Goldstar Daily photojournalist Joey Nacalaban, and Sunstar-Cagayan de Oro editor Pamela Jay Orias, Jaudian noted.
Gallardo, Nacalaban, and Orias were attending a solidarity protest in support of ABS-CBN at the television network’s regional office in Bulua village in Cagayan de Oro City on Friday afternoon when a courier delivered copies of bond paper-sized posters that accused the media practitioners of being members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The posters were distributed at the provincial capitol grounds on Friday.
Jaudian urged the police and the military to look into the “seemingly witch-hunting efforts of some misguided elements.”
Panelo guaranteed that the state forces would rely on “basis and evidence” when it comes to those who have been suspected to be CPP members.
“Kapag ikaw ay sinabing kumikiling ka sa kaliwa at meron kang sinasabi laban sa gobyerno ibig sabihin, meron silang basehan, may ebidensya sila na ‘yun nga ang ginagawa mo (They have basis and evidence, if they say that you have left-leaning activities and you are criticizing the government),” he said.
The CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), are branded as a terror group in the Philippines.
Apart from the Philippines, the CPP-NPA has also been tagged as a terror organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (IA/sovereignph.com/PNA)