MANILA, Philippines — A group of policemen allegedly intimidated a reporter of GMA’s radio station dzBB after doing a live traffic report in Marikina City, suspecting that the journalist “could be an enemy.”
In a viral Facebook post, Mark Makalalad, who covers the Philippine National Police and Department of National Defense, narrated how he was questioned by four policemen after his report along Marcos Highway on Thursday.
Makalalad said police officers asked if he is a member of the media. The uniformed policemen also asked for Makalalad’s identification card.
Today’s experience:I was doing a live traffic report in Marcos Highway (Marikina area) earlier, when a group of 4…
Posted by Mark Gene Makalalad on Thursday, June 25, 2020
Police officers then requested Makalalad to ask permission first before recording a live video.
But the reporter questioned if it was a new directive from the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, which is the police task force implementing quarantine guidelines.
“Araw-araw po ako nag-l-live report sa iba’t ibang lugar, ngayon lang ako nakirinig na kailangan magpaalam sa pulis kapag magl-live. Bago po ba yang utos kasi lilinawin ko yan sa JTF-Covid Shield,” Makalalad told the policemen.
(Everyday, I report live at different places, this is the first time I’ve heard of that order to ask permission from policemen before doing a live report. Is this a new directive because I have to clarify this with JTF COVID Shield.)
Admitting that it was not a directive, the policemen, however, insisted that Makalalad should still ask for permission because he is allegedly taking a video of them.
Makalalad denied their claim, saying he was taking a video of the traffic situation along the highway. He also asked if vloggers or other citizens taking videos must seek permission from policemen.
With this, the policemen responded: “baka kasi sir kalaban ka [sir, you could be an enemy],” which irritated Makalalad.
The reporter, nonetheless, said the “conversation ended peacefully,” noting that he respects authorities.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines raised their concern over the incident, asking the PNP to probe and take action against the rude policemen.
“This is why it is imperative that the PNP leadership get to the bottom of this, sanction the erring policemen, and ensure this never ever happens again by inculcating the true spirit of their motto into each and every uniformed personnel,” read the statement.
This is why it is imperative that the PNP leadership get to the bottom of this, sanction the erring policemen, and ensure this never ever happens again by inculcating the true spirit of their motto into each and every uniformed personnel.
— NUJP (@nujp) June 25, 2020
PNP probes incident
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, JTF COVID Shield commander, told reporters that the chief of Marikina police is already inquiring about the policemen involved in the reported intimidation.
Meanwhile, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the PNP is “seeking clarification” from Marikina police, saying there are no existing policies for media personnel to ask clearance from law enforcers when making a live report at public areas.
“We’ll seek clarification from Marikina Police why our cops acted the way they acted. But definitely, we have no policy that requires media to ask prior permission from PNP to do live report in public places,” Banac said in a statement to reporters.
“The PNP treats media as ally and partner in maintenance of peace and order and will always uphold the freedom of the press,” he added.
In December last year, the National Press Club alleged that Metro Manila police chief Major Gen. Debold Sinas placed his hand across the mouth of a female GMA 7 TV reporter who was asking for a short interview.
In January this year, Brig. Gen. Nolasco Bathan, Metro Manila police’s deputy regional director for administration, also allegedly snatched the phone of Jun Veneracion, who is also a GMA reporter, during a commotion at the Black Nazarene procession.
Bathan was then chief of the Southern Police District but was promoted to a post in Metro Manila police headquarters.
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TAGS: dzBB, harassment, Makalalad, Marcos Highway, Marikina Police, Media, Nation, PNP, Police, police intimidation, press freedom
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