MANILA, Oct. 14 (PNA) — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Administrative Order No. 1 creating the Presidential Task Force that seeks to protect the life, liberty, and security of media practitioners in the country.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar made the announcement during a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday.
Andanar said the President signed the AO to show his care for the members of media who constantly face death threats and acts of violence.
The AO, signed on October 11, mandates the Task Force to conduct an inventory of all cases of violence against media workers for the first 30 days from the creation of the Task Force.
After the inventory, the special teams will then start the investigation of unsolved high profile cases such as the Ampatuan massacre. A special oversight team composed of investigators and prosecutors will be designated to monitor the developments of the cases.
The Task Force is also designated to receive reports from media practitioners whose lives are in danger. Necessary assistance will be provided to them, including protection, if warranted.
Journalists facing death threats and acts of violence will also be assisted in coordination with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and in accordance with existing laws, rules, and regulations.
The Task Force will be headed by the Justice Secretary and will be co-chaired by the Presidential Communications Office Secretary.
Its members will include the Interior and Local Government Secretary, Defense Secretary, the Solicitor General, the Executive Director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, the Philippine National Police director-general, and the director of the National Bureau of Investigation.
The Presidential Task Force will also invite the following as observers and resource persons: chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR); the Ombudsman; and the heads of the the National Press Club (NPC), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Kapisanan ng mg Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI), and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI).
Andanar said the AO aims to make the Philippines one of the safest places in the world in which to be a media practitioner.