Francis Allan L. Angelo/ TDG/ PNS
VARIOUS media groups in Western Visayas condemned the violent attack against The Daily Guardian publisher-editor Lemuel Fernandez in the evening of January 26.
The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP)-Iloilo headed by chairperson Bert Ladera of RMN-Iloilo called on the PNP to thoroughly investigate the attack.
The NUJP also urged members of the tri-media to be always on guard and put personal safety above all other priorities.
“The failure on the part of concerned authorities to take appropriate action on the matter may cause a chilling effect to other media colleagues who are being regarded as defenders of press freedom. Let us not allow the perception that society today is getting harsh and lawlessness is creeping in our midst,” NUJP-Iloilo said.
The Iloilo Capitol Press Corps (ICPC) headed by Elena “Bing” Pabiona of Radyo ng Bayan said the attack on Fernandez “causes alarm to the members of ICPC” and “a sign of oppression to the fourth estate.”
“This is one way of telling the media to be quiet on the controversial and high profile issues they tackle on print, television or radio. We condemn the fact that a notorious act like attacking a mediaman is the way to stop us in pursuing controversial issues. We are also calling the authorities to immediately resolve the case,” the ICPC said.
The Iloilo City Hall Press Corps (ICHPC) led by Richard “Boboy” Sombero of dySI-Super Radyo said the attack on a journalist cannot be tolerated in a peaceful community.
The ICHPC said the media is defender of the press freedom, advocate of peace and development.
“We are not an enemy. We are just carrying and delivering the message,” the group said.
The ICHPC said Ilonggos should not allow the perception that “society today is getting harsh and lawlessness is creeping in our midst.”
“We urge the members of Philippine National Police to guarantee a peaceful and safe society and immediately resolve and identify the culprits of this inhumane act. We are calling our colleagues to be on guard as always, and put safety above all priorities,” the group added.
The Philippine Tri-Media Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PTMC), Iloilo Police Defense Press Corps (IPDPC), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP-Negros Occidental) and Negros Media Council for Press Freedom (NMCPF) also condemned the attack in a joint statement.
The media groups said the assault on Fernandez was “an act of cowardice.”
“It is a stupid, senseless, and shameful act befitting only of barbarians and those who choose to remain uncivilized in a modern world,” the groups said.
The groups added the incident was “a direct assault on the Fourth Estate” and “a dangerous threat to Freedom of the Press.”
“We urge the authorities to leave no stone unturned in finding out the real truth behind this grim and foreboding scenario. We fear that to allow the deed to wallow in the pile of unsolved mysteries may encourage the masterminds and perpetrators to impose a reign of terror on all members of the press and, God forbid, the general populace.”
The joint statement also said: “We call on all fellow journalists, in both print and broadcast, to strongly denounce this attack in the strongest possible terms. We ask our brothers in the Iloilo media community to resist all efforts to subjugate the fourth estate. Together, let us put up a common front against the evil that lurks in our midst.”