President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday vowed to uphold press freedom and promote free speech in the country as well as cultivate a safer environment for journalists.
Newly elected officers of the Malacañang Press Corps, the Presidential Photojournalists Association, and the Malacañang Cameramen Association were sworn in by the President in Malacañang.
Speaking before the officers of Malacañang reporters and cameramen, the President said, “Rest assured that the government will never waver in its duty to uphold press freedom, to promote free speech, cultivate a safer environment for journalists even as we work together in safeguarding our democratic institutions.”
“As we celebrate this milestone, I ask you to remain our partners in ushering transformative and lasting change in society through the delivery of impartial and reliable news and information that will help improve discourse and enable us to promote advocacies and programs that will improve the lives of our people.”
The President asked the journalists to let their passion protect and advance the country’s media industry and create inspiration to actively participate in nation-building.
“Together, let us join hands in shaping a more progressive and well-informed citizenry who will work with us in building a stronger Philippines,” he said.
At the same time, the President expressed his gratitude to the members of the media for their steadfast commitment to help his administration relay to the people vital information about government policies, programs, and services.
“As an important conduit between the government and the people, you in mass media are tasked with the sacred responsibility to ensure that truth and fairness will prevail in the delivery of information to the public,” he noted.
Intensified campaign vs NPA
Meanwhile, President Duterte ordered a more intensified military and police operations against the New People’s Army (NPA).
In a media interview, the President said he ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to relentlessly conduct assaults against the insurgents.
“Walang hintuan. Magpalit-palit ‘yung isang batalyon diyan na walang gamit, na wala masyadong kalaban. Pagka bone-weary na ang mga sundalo, palit na naman. Tuloy-tuloy,” President Duterte said during the interview.
The President also made an assurance that he would not forsake his soldiers, reiterating he takes full responsibility on all of the military’s actions as long as they are done in accordance with the law.
“Dito sa akin, sige, you just do your duty in accordance with law, ako ang mag-amin sa lahat. I’ll take full responsibility,” he said.
The killing of four police intelligence officers in Negros Oriental last July drew the ire of the President and has offered bounties for the neutralization of the perpetrators. PND