A journalist on Sunday refuted the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines’ (NUJP) statement linking the recent intimidation committed against Bulacan-based journalists to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Carmela Reyes-Estrope, correspondent of Philippine Daily Inquirer, said she felt bothered when NUJP tweeted that the Duterte administration was behind the attack on her and four other Bulacan journalists after covering a water sampling activity in a sanitary land fill in Norzagaray on June 21 this year.
“With all due respect and appreciation of NUJP’s long committed and genuine support and efforts on the safety and welfare of its ranks however, the undersigned refutes such statements implicating the Duterte administration as behind such attack on us Bulacan-based journalists and press freedom in general especially in that particular incident,” Reyes-Estrope said in a statement.
She said it was actually the Duterte administration, through Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMs) headed by Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, that extended ‘immediate’ assistance and protection to them.
“I am not, however, issuing this statement to put NUJP into bad light but only to allow the truth to prevail particularly about what I certainly and strongly believe (in), that President Duterte is in no way possibly connected to this incident,” she said.
Reyes-Estrope also believes that Duterte will not tolerate such an incident against the journalists “but will protect and go after our attackers particularly with his creation of PTFOMS”.
Duterte dedicated his first administrative order (AO) for the creation of PTFOMs just four months after he assumed presidency on June 30, 2016 to ensure a “safe environment for media workers”.
Meanwhile, Reyes-Estrope thanked the NUJP, particularly Ansbert Joaquin and Ron Lopez for expressing concerns and support.
“I wish to thank the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) for expressing its support to five Bulacan-based journalists,” she said.
“Indeed, I do support NUJP, PTFoMS and other media groups on their fight for the welfare and protection of all media men in the country,” she added.