NUJP flags PNP ‘directive’ on media

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By Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

THE National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), in a statement on Monday, flagged a directive by the Philippine National Police (PNP), enjoining its units to “coordinate with local media outlets” in encouraging “positive coverage” on police operations and other activities.

In its statement, the NUJP said, “We have obtained a copy of a directive issued to the Cebu City police dated October 2 that ‘pertains to the optimal use of various media platforms to enhance the PNP’s operational capability’ and is based on the ‘verbal instruction of CPNP,’ meaning PNP Director General Oscar (D.) Albayalde.”

NUJP claimed further that, “as a result of Albayalde’s order, our Bacolod City chapter has confirmed that policemen visited the local office of the SunStar daily asking for positive coverage because most of the news about the PNP lately has supposedly been negative. Other news outlets in the city were also visited.”

“More worrisome is that the visiting lawmen actually took photos of the staff at the SunStar Bacolod office without asking permission first and, reportedly, also at the Cebu radio station,” NUJP said.

The group also said its “members in Batangas also reported that the PNP in the province now refuses them access to spot reports, citing a so-called directive from the national headquarters. They are only being given press releases that only cite their “accomplishments” in a clear effort to dictate how the local media report on police activities.”

But in his press briefing on Monday, Mr. Albayalde said, “We’re not asking for favors dito (here). We are asking for close coordination and collaboration to help inform the Filipino people kung ano talaga ang dapat malaman ng ating taumbayan (what the people should really know).”

The police chief also told reporters that the PNP has been coordinating with the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) for a dialogue with school officials of the 18 universities identified by the Armed Forces of the Philippines as recruitment hubs of communist rebels.

National Capital Region Police Officer Chief Director Guillermo T. Eleazar and PNP Spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno B. Durana Jr. have met with Commission on Higher Education chairperson Prospero De Vera III last weekend regarding the planned dialogue.

Mr. Albayalde said, “The only thing is we are just concerned about the welfare and education of our students, dahil napakadali ma-influence ng ating mga kabataan lalo na yung mga medyo emotional at mapusok ang mga kabataan natin. Ito yung iniiwasan natin (because our youth are very easy to influence, especially the emotional and aggressive among them. This is what we’re trying to avoid).”

The PNP chief added: “The police recognized that student activism is a healthy sign of a vibrant democracy which our country now (has). But to the extent of taking up arms or inciting to take up arms against the government is definitely in conflict with the law that the PNP is duty bound to address with appropriate police response.”

“Nonetheless, I assure you there will be no police intervention to suppress academic freedom, speech, expression, and other fundamental liberties exercised in our campuses.”

Mr. Albayalde said he hopes that “patriotism and nationalism” will be taught more in state colleges and universities.