A friend warned me that calling you out on your unfair treatment of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) would encourage your meal ticket, the Human Rights Watch organization, to increase funding for your operations as its Asia Division researcher.
I told them that I’ll risk it and make you appear to be more than what your work is actually worth. Because based on your most recent report to the Human Rights Watch organization, your work is worth the amount of money it takes to rent a computer for an hour, Google for news articles one Philippine journalists being killed, and then write a story using details stolen other reporters who actually covered scene of the crime, using it as a bases for FALSE claiming that the PTFoMS was doing little.
I sure hope that by saying the administration was doing little you weren’t alluding to the height of PFToMS Executive Director Joel Sy Egco. That would really be a low blow.
He stands head and shoulders above you when it comes to truly caring for the safety of our country’s journalists as well as when it comes to being a journalist who is held in the highest esteem by his peers.
I don’t really know how concerned you are about the safety of journalists or if ever you have grieved with the families of journalists who were killed. But this much I know, Joel has been fighting for justice for slain journalists long before PTFoMS was ever conceived and I am sure that other journalists will attest to this.
Joel has probably done more than you have for his fellow journalists. He has comforted and provided security for journalists under threat as in the case of Virgilio Maganes, the family of Larry Que, Cris Ibon, and Joseph Albert Gamboa.
But more than that, he is steadily pushing for the review and resolution of 159 cases where journalists were killed. This includes the case of slain Catanduanes publisher Larry Que and others.
At the start of this week, Joel went to Sultan Kudarat to personally oversee the investigation into the killing of Leo Diaz. But don’t pat yourself on your wide, flabby back and tell yourself that your false report on Human Rights Watch actually prodded Joel to go there.
Joel was already in touch with people in Sultan Kudarat and making preparations for his visit there before your article on Human Rights Watch came out.
So, while you were banging on your keyboard, Joel was frantically making calls to Sultan Kudarat as well as to law enforcement agencies and the rest of the PTFoMS secretariat was already in high gear doing staff work.
Joel went to barangay Katico where Diaz was killed and eventually laid to rest, braving threats of possible harm along the treacherous rural roads of Pres. Quirino town from Tacurong City and back.
Before he left for Sultan Kudarat, he vowed not to return to Manila until he had good news to share to the community of Filipino journalists.
He was able to get in touch with a vital witness and, as I write this, Joel is on his way back to Manila to share a major breakthrough in the case.
This is a towering feat compared to the inaction that the administration was known for when it came to protecting journalists under threat or pursuing justice for those who were killed.
If all you can muster is a salsal story and a baseless accusation, you are better off resigning as Human Rights Watch Asia Division Researcher because the puny swipe you took isn’t worth the money they are paying you.
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