PTFoMS forms task force to probe on Llana death

Joey Llana

By Liza Agoot

BAGUIO CITY -- The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) said a special investigation task group, dubbed “Task Force Llana”, has been formed, less than six hours after the reported killing of Blocktime broadcaster Joey Llana in the morning of Friday, July 20.

PTFoMS Executive Director and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco in an interview with Baguio media said the task force would extensively look into the killing of the journalist.

“Para mas mabilis yung imbestigasyon ng ating mga pulis sa local, mahuli agad yung mga gumawa noon (To speed up the investigation of the local police and immediately arrest the perpetrators),” he said.

Egco pointed out that PTFoMS directly participates in issues involving the security and safety of the media practitioners like that of Llana.

"Sayang kung nabanggit niya agad, naaksyunan agad natin (Pity, if only he had mentioned it right away, we could have acted on it fast)," he said. "Hindi natin hahayaang walang mangyari sa kasong yan just like what we did in past and previous cases of killings of the members of the media. Iniimbestigahan agad natin, naso-solve naman natin yan, nakikilalala at napaparusahan gumagawa niyan. hindi katulad noong araw na wala lang, deadma lang. This time, hindi na pwede yan (Just like what we did in the past and on previous killings of members of the media, we will not allow this case to just be part of the record. We are already investigating and we will be able to solve this, identify the perpetrators, and place them behind bars, unlike before when it was left unattended. This time, it will not happen).”

Egco said he had spoken with Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go and expressed confidence that the information on the death of Llana was already brought to the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte.

He revealed that since 1986, there have 170 cases of media killings, including that of Llana.

Under the present administration, there are three verified media work-related killings, which include that of Larry Que in December 2016, Christopher Lozada in March 2018, and another.

He, however, said there were 13 killings involving media workers, but only three were work-related. The nonwork-related cases include the Cebu incident, where the house of a media practitioner was robbed and he was killed in the process.

Egco defined mediamen as all those involved in the process of news gathering.

PTFoms info campaign

"Napakahalaga na bumababa kami sa local, nalalalaman ng mga kasama natin sa hanapbuhay na meron na palang ganitong task force na pag may konting problema, sumbong mo agad sa amin, naaksyunan agad natin (It is very important that we go to the local so that fellow media practitioners will know that there is a task force where they can go report for whatever problems and we act on them),” Egco continued.

He said just like the event here in Baguio on Friday, the PTFoMS visits regions and provinces to do information campaigns, inform the stakeholders, not just the members of the media. From Baguio, Egco said he would go to Bicol to personally see the situation. They will also go to Visayas and Mindanao.

"Bumababa tayo. We do face to face campaign kasi nga hindi natin pwedeng basta iasa lang na maireport. Being a journalist myself, naintindihan ko yun kung bakit. So with that in mind, bumababa na ang Malacañang sa ilalaim para ipaalam ang good news na ito (We go down. We do face to face campaign and we cannot just rely on news reporting. Being a journalist myself, I understand the situation and with this in mind, we bring Malacañang to the community to relay the good news).”

PTFoMS protocol

Egco said there are five instances when the PTFoMS can come in--when a media practitioner receives a threat, is threatened online, physically harmed, subjected to surveillance, and when killed.

He related that the media practitioner reports to the task force or to the nearest police station, which is the basis of the task force to handle the case.

He said that the PTFoMS is going to the grassroots, holding seminars. The goal is for the creation of local PTFoMS and the identification of special prosecutors who will handle cases of work-related killings or injuries.

He added with the PTFoMS informed, the media practitioner could be provided with an armed escort or with an intelligence cover acting appropriately.

The local councils, he said, would do a risk mapping. “Sino nanganganib, sino may threat, sino may banta, kailangan mai-document yun. Hindi pwedeng ilihim tapos pag namatay na may problema tayong lahat. Proactive and progressive campaign. Why wait to be harmed. Threat pa lang aksyunan na (Who is at risk, who is threatened, it has to be documented. It cannot be kept and later on when someone dies, it becomes a problem for everybody. Our campaign is proactive. Why wait to be harmed? A mere threat has to be acted upon),” he said.

The Administrative Order No. 1 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte is envisioned to address the vulnerabilities of the media, who are “being used as pawns in a proxy war”. (PNA)