Baguio councilors on Wednesday has invited the members of the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee to its regular session on Monday, March 8, to shed light of its passing resolution 4 last week to employ tokhang-style operation against left-leaning personalities including media.
The councilors also seek they be enlightened by another RLECC resolution (No. 4), which urges local government unit executives to issue permits for left leaning groups for massed gathering. The permit needs to have the concurrence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In a proposed resolution Wednesday, councilors Arthur Allad-iw, Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. and Mylen Yaranon has invited in aid of legislation RLECC co-chair and Police Regional Office Cordillera director PGen. R’win Pagkalinawan, National Bureau of Investigation – Cordillera director Atty. Hector Geologo, Commission on Human Rights – Cordillera director Rommel Daguimol as well as human rights lawyers, the media, “to appear before the city council to share their insights on” said resolutions of the RLECC – Cordillera.
The proposed resolution will hope to have Law College dean Pablito Sanidad, human rights lawyers Jose Molintas and Reynaldo Cortes and the presidents of the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club and the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines – Baguio Chapter during the deliberation.
In coming out with the resolution, the three councilors took note of the position of media personalities and rights advocates questioning the RLECC resolution.
The councilors echoed the media’s position that “it contradicts the media’s role as the fourth pillar of democracy and advocates (and) believed it contravenes basic rights;…”
The three added that “as concerned with the rights and welfare of ots constituents, to know the rationale of the above resolution and see their possible effects to the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of expression and of association,…”
That said, the three legislators added “there is a need to invite the above-menti0ned personalities;…”
The resolution signed by 44 of the 45 regional directors or the officer in charge seek to enjoin all local government unit executives in the Cordillera rejoin to “consider the resolution.”
In coming out with the resolution, the regional directors noted that there must be cooperation, interaction, as well as support in providing “practical solutions and solve problems and issues on the ground that are being exploited by communist terrorists in order to stir-up our countrymen to fight the government through armed struggle.”
RLECC resolution will adopt the tokhang-style operation used in the government’s war against drugs by knocking at one’s door and plea to stop dealing in drugs.
However, human rights groups say that more than 5,000 people have been killed in its drug war using operation tokhang.
To cushion the fear of tokhang, priests, non-government organizations and barangay officials will be part of the team that will implement the operation.
They also said that the right to assemble is being exploited by left leaning groups to “arouse, organize and mobilize unsuspecting individuals especially the youth to go against the government.”
In a statement, BCBC president Aldwin Quitasol, who is invited to Monday’s dialogue, said the resolution passed ironically on the 35th anniversary of the EDSA Revolution, “is sending a chilling effect to the people who believe in the freedom of expression and who have still faith in democracy.”
The response, which was carried out by local newspapers in their op-ed pages added: “the word “Tokhang” will never be forgotten by the families, friends, relatives, and survivors of the war on drugs that was boasted as the solution to the drug menace and drug trade.”
He added: ”The use of tokhang sets up a dangerous precedent because it follows the same procedure of the war against drugs which is a failure in stopping the drug trade and instead caused the death of thousands.”
He said: “And they expect this tokhang will be the answer to why there are many poor people who are struggling against oppression and discrimination and other historical injustices.”
He also noted that it is the job of media to come out with stories which needs interviews and if people critical to government are interviewed, “they will be perceived as siding with the critics.”
He said: “Whenever the media writes, broadcasts or publishes information so that the citizens will be challenged to think or make a realization of their leaders’ successes or failures and from that, an iopen exchange of ideas and opinions flourish, they will be branded as bias.”
He added: “The media writes or bring out news from the mouth of the news sources whether “leftists”, rightists” or centrists.”
He further said: “Writing about the statement of anyone should not be mistaken as support for the news sources.”