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TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte — Media groups denounced a Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) official for scolding journalists covering the inaugural operation of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) here Friday.
Editha Caduaya, president of the Mindanao Independent Press Council (MIPC), described DILG Assistant Provincial Director Janet Palmera’s attitude as “an act of arrogance of an abusive and insensitive public servant who deserves to undergo ethical trainings and seminars.”
“When everyone was talking about peace initiative, you have this officer who cannot even show respect among people. How can she sow peace amid arrogance or conceit in treating media practitioners?” Caduaya said.
The room was jam-packed as top government officials attended the event with Governors Jayvee Tyrone Uy of Compostela Valley Province, Edwin Jubahib of Davao del Norte, Ednar Dayanghirang representing Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang and other top military and police officers of the region.
Palmera was tasked to call the names of former rebels also present during the same event to receive the monetary incentives for the firearms they turned over when they surrendered.
Journalists and photographers took photos of the turnover of checks when suddenly Palmera reprimanded them as saying, “media partners, you are prohibited from taking photos on the surrenderees, their faces cannot be shown”.
Caduaya said everyone was shocked during the incident and there was silence for few seconds but eventually went on to call the beneficiaries. However, she repeated her warning again on the taking of photographs.
Palmera, however, was insistent and seemed to threaten the media practitioners by saying: “media partners, you are prohibited to take photos. If we will see a photo showing their face- we will look for you, isn’t it, Sir?” apparently addressing it to her head of office.
Ruth Palo, president of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police Press Corps said “the act she displayed was uncalled and very unprofessional,” adding that the official “treated us like kids with such an embarrassing gesture.”
“We certainly follow standards on reporting and we have been covering minor victims and rebel returnees’ turnover ceremony, and, we police our own ranks,” she said.
The AFP-PNP Press Corps and the MIPC called on agencies of government to look into the matter and take “necessary” measures on such misdemeanor. (PNA)