Let’s stay out of each other’s way — PNP to media

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Philippine National Police yesterday welcomed the Commission on Human Right’s move to amend its rules of engagement to prevent a repeat of its row with media during the Makati standoff.

PNP Spokesman Samuel Pagdilao Jr. said the PNP will continue reaching out to media organizations, especially those critical of its handling of the situation with newsmen.

“We would welcome the suggestion to amend our rules of engagement. We want to pursue this along with a continuing dialogue with the media,” Pagdilao said.

Police and media had a run-in last November 29 when police arrested journalists covering the standoff in Makati City led by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Brigadier General Danilo Lim.

The police claimed they arrested the journalists because they failed to heed orders to vacate the area while they assaulted the Peninsula Manila hotel.

Media organizations scored the PNP for high-handed treatment, including handcuffing media workers and bringing them to a police camp for processing aboard prison buses.

Pagdilao said the initial measures the PNP is working on include providing a “safety area” for journalists covering a “situation,” such as a coup try or a hostage incident.

“Sa pangyayaring ganoon yung media kinakailangang malagay sa isang lugar kung saang malaya silang maka-broadcast ng pangyayari without impeding police operations na makasagabal sila at maka-endanger ng buhay ng inosente,” Pagdilao said.

He added police and media in other countries have agreed to allow media to cover the situation without interfering in police work.

“Sa coverage of crisis situation ang pulis nandodoon para maayos ang sitwasyong ganyan if it is a rebellion or hostage situation, ang trabaho ng pulis very clear, to quell or maiayos ang situation para manumbalik tayo sa normal. Alam natin ang duty ng media is to cover the incident. Kailangan talaga magusap para ang pulis maisagawa ang tungkulin,” he said.

Pagdilao further said the PNP will make efforts to get in touch with groups like the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, and the Philippine Press Institute.

The dialogues aim to have both police and media understand each other’s job and situation.

Pagdilao also said they hope the meetings would allow them to move forward from what happened last November 29.

“It’s high time for us to look forward while learning from the Pen experience. Sana mas aayos ang media coverage at pag-handle ng pulis sa critical situations,” Pagdilao stressed.