The National Capital Region Police Office said it will provide security to Metro Manila-based journalists who receive threats or are being harassed following the murder of veteran broadcaster Percival Mabasa.
Mabasa, 63, known to his colleagues as Percy Lapid, was the second journalist to have been killed under the current administration, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).
NCRPO director Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo said he has tapped all district directors and station commanders of the five police districts in Metro Manila to initiate a dialogue with newspaper reporters, broadcasters, and other media practitioners “to determine imminent threats if any and address their security concerns accordingly.”
“We acknowledge the risks involved in the job of our media friends, hence we are duty-bound to protect them” Estomo said.
He said his directive was in compliance with the pronouncement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to ensure the safety and security of all media practitioners in the country.
“The NCRPO acknowledges the essential role of our friends from the media for their fair, truthful, and timely dissemination of information as well as their contribution in cascading the PNP’s anti-criminality programs for the benefit of the general public. It is then necessary that their concerns be given attention and dealt with,” Estomo added.
Estomo likewise warned the killer of Mabasa to surrender to authorities while there is still a chance.
The police earlier announced that it has identified the suspected gunman.
“I reiterate the appeal of our Interior Secretary, Benhur Abalos, for the families of the suspects to surrender their relatives voluntarily for their own safety,” he said.
The bounty for the killer’s arrest is now at P1.5 million.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police is taking urgent action in the mauling of a member of the media in La Paz, Iloilo City on Friday.
PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin said the Iloilo City Police Office has been instructed to provide security to radio block timer Pio Hervias, who was mauled by still unknown assailants.
He said the Iloilo City Police Office has also initiated an in-depth investigation to possibly identify and arrest the suspects, including a city-wide dragnet operation involving random checkpoints.
“Any assault on working journalists is being considered by the PNP as a serious case that deserves prompt and preferential action,” said Azurin in a statement.