Support pours for mediamen
Statements of support for two local journalists, who are victims of red-tagging anew, continue to pour Friday evening, this time coming from various public officials.
The expressions of support came after Froilan Gallardo and Leonardo Vicente Corrales were branded as members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Gallardo and Corrales said they have both been victims of red-tagging in the past, and have fervhttps://www.rappler.com/nation/238955-media-groups-mindanao-slam-red-tagging-journalistsently denied they are in any way NPA supporters or members.
Gallardo is a seasoned reporter and photojournalist who writes for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Mindanews, and BenarNews, a foreign media outfit.
Corrales is currently the associate editor of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily. He is also a member of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club’s board of directors.
Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of this city’s 2nd District said “journalists are merely doing their job to report both sides of the issues” and that red-tagging “serves no purpose except to destroy their reputations without proof and unnecessarily hinders their work.”
Undersecretary Joel Egco of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) said he was “concerned” about the red-tagging of local journalists.
Egco, who also heads the Presidential Task Force on Media Safety (PTFOMS), said his office has, in fact, acted on reports of some reporters being targeted just recently, especially reporters Kath Cortez of Davao Today and Pamela Jay Orias of SunStar Cagayan de Oro.
Cortez and Orias are officers of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, one of the groups being accused of having ties to the NPA.
“We cater to thousands of media workers in the country and we have acted on each and every situation where our assistance was needed, be that in incidents of threats, harassment, harm or even actual killing,” Egco said.
He said PTFOMS will “act with dispatch on each distress call, actual or even imagined,” adding that “we are just a phone call away.”
Philippine Information Agency-10 Director Erlinda Olivia Tiu said the red-tagging of Gallardo and Corrales saddens her “as I am fully aware that they are legitimate members of the media and are helping promote government programs and advocacies.”
The Philippine Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade commander, Brig. General Edgardo de Leon, said he personally knows Gallardo and Corrales.
“They are professional journalists,” De Leon said, “To me, Froi and Cong are not simply friends, but close personal friends whom I consider as brothers. I vouch for them that they are not Reds and do not deserve to be red-tagged.”
He added: “Whoever is doing this has the malicious intent to sow divided and break our friendly relationship. I suspect that this is the handiwork of the Reds,” a reference to the NPA.
Police regional spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mardy Hortillosa said he supports those who are being red-tagged, “especially those [who] morally have no involvement in any activity of the CTG, but condemns those who support in any way to the CTG. The office will again repeatedly deny any involvement to the said red-tagging.”
State forces and law enforcers refer to NPA rebels as CTG or communist terrorist group. (PNA)