Advocate’s Overview: Condemning the harassment of journalists in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao


By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW

The local chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns the actions of Ifugao, Alfonso Lista Vice-Mayor Clarence Polig and his police bodyguards threatening and harassing our fellow journalists who were covering the town’s “Ammung” fiesta on May 10.

We view these actions as violations to press freedom. His claim that their coverage of the town fiesta is illegal because it is being done without a work permit from him- is a manifestation of his ignorance or complete disregard of basic constitutional rights and a stark display of unethical conduct and abuse of authority.

While courtesy calls to local officials is optional, there is no provision in the Constitution, law or official policies that requires issuances of work orders by a local official/s for journalists to conduct any press coverage.

Both practicing journalists and correspondents of Ang Pahayagang Malaya, Ma. Elena Catajan and Redjie Cawis were just exercising their constitutional right to press freedom by covering the event for public information.

We urge the concerned government agencies, particularly the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police, to immediately conduct an impartial investigation and file an appropriate case or cases against Polig and the PNP officers involved in the harassment of the two journalists.

We also urge the other local officials in Alfonso Lista to cooperate with an impartial investigation and not to cover up the truth on the incident.

The incident that occurred inside the residence of Alfonso Lista Vice-Mayor Clarence Polig on May 10 is saddening and very alarming.

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The Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club Statement

The Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club, Inc. is one with the Cordillera Tourism Press Corps that a thorough investigation must be made, first to establish what really happened and how the argument wherein two members of the local media and the members of the club were allegedly threatened and had to flee for their lives out of the residence of the said public official.

Before any actions are taken, we would like to ask the Police Regional Office – Cordillera, through PDG Eugene Martin, and the offices of the good Ifugao Governor Teodora Baguilat, Jr. and Rep. Solomon Chungalao to help in the investigation and help establish what really transpired.

The BCBC and its members, journalists that they are, need to know the truth and this requires that both sides of the story must be told.

(Sgd) PIGEON M. LOBIEN, BCBC President

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