By AMES DEAN H. IBARRA
NAGA CITY — The province of Camarines Sur is free from work-related media killings within the first 10 months of 2010, the spokesman of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial Police Office said.
SPO4 Romy Fabiano, PNP CamSur public information officer said, “I believe we don’t have much problem with extrajudicial killings involving journalists here in our province because our relationship with the media here is good enough. We encourage our local media men to immediately report to us any sign of threat upon their lives. So far, we haven’t heard anything of the sort.”
Fabiano said that he does not consider the murder of Miguel ‘Mike’ Bellen, a volunteer news reporter of dwEB radio station in Nabua, CamSur, as a sort of extrajudicial or media killing, because the reason behind his death was personal and not related to his work as a media practitioner.
Bellen died last July 31 after almost a month in the hospital in Iriga City where he was brought after suffering seven gunshot wounds from a caliber .45 pistol. The broadcaster was reported to be on his way home from work July 9 when he was ambushed by two assailants riding on a motorcycle, who were identified as suspects Gina Bagacina and Eric Vargas. Both are still at large at press time.
Sr. Supt. Jonathan Ablang, CamSur PNP chief stated in a media interview that the victim and Bagacina had a “relationship” that he refused to elaborate on. Bagacina was also a suspected member of the local New People’s Army (NPA) in the province.
Fabiano further said that communication between the police and the media in CamSur regarding security is always free-flowing and open.
“Our local media is well-informed and they know how to take care of themselves,” Fabiano said.
With the impending distribution of the security manual for journalists from the national headquarters of the PNP, Fabiano said that the set of guidelines contained within its covers could add more to the knowledge that they impart to the media practitioners in CamSur during seminars and trainings that the police and the military regularly conduct here.
Meanwhile, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Camarines Sur Chairman Emman Llagas expressed much confidence in the capability and dignity of the local media practitioners here.
“As broadcasters, we have our Code of Ethics. As with you, print journalists, you also have your regulations. We are self-regulatory and we undergo trainings and seminars here in Camarines Sur on how to survive hostile places or environments,” Llagas stated. “But I see nothing wrong about having a security manual, especially if it is only a list of guidelines to us. Maybe it could be considered part of our learning regarding safety.”