Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., Southern Luzon Command chief (PNA File photo)

MANILA – Contrary to some sectors’ claims, the  National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) strongly supports any legislation that would protect media workers from any form of exploitation.

Southern Luzon Command chief, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., was referring to Senate Bill 1820 or the Media Workers’ Welfare Act filed by Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

“The NTF ELCAC supports Senate Bill 1820 to ensure the protection of the welfare of media practitioners from the exploitative practices of media magnates. These media moguls are raking billions but have neglected their workers working during odd-hours just to beat deadlines,” he said in a statement on Sept. 18.

While supportive of media workers, Parlade said he doesn’t approve of the finger-pointing being done by owners of media corporations whenever something goes wrong with their businesses.

“Yet, when things get awry with their franchise requirements they have the gall to blame the government (for) media censure. They want to have their cake and eat it too,” said Parlade, also an official of the NTF ELCAC.

He lauded Commission on Human Rights (CHR) spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia for expressing her agency’s support to the Senate Bill 1820.

“As a country that prides itself with having a free press, ensuring the protection and just compensation of media practitioners is essential in ensuring the protection of the freedom of expression and the right of individuals to access information,” de Guia was quoted as saying.

While praising de Guia for supporting Senate Bill 1820, he asked whether the same sentiment was shared by CHR chair Chito Gascon.

“We laud the CHR spokesperson for her stand and thank you for acknowledging that indeed we are (a) country who prides ourselves of enjoying our constitutionally enshrined press freedom. But may we know if the same sentiment is shared by its Chair Chito Gascon?” he added.

He said not many countries in Southeast Asia enjoy the same amount of press freedom being enjoyed by media practitioners in the Philippines and yet the country’s get a bad press in connection with cases he claims are totally unconnected to that issue.

“Not many countries in the region enjoy that democratic right, yet we are being lambasted by UNCHR (United Nations Commission on Human Rights) and the EU (European Union) for a civil case involving Rappler’s Maria Ressa and a franchise issue involving ABS-CBN. That’s not fair, but we know this is (a) propaganda war, so we will take the bull by the horn,” Parlade said. (PNA)

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