President orders police to protect radio reporter
- From: Joekerr <joekerr3@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 10:59:02 -0700 (PDT)
President Gloria Arroyo on Thursday ordered police to protect a
journalist who has received death threats for linking the military to
the murder of a communist insurgent’s daughter.
Speaking before the 30th commencement exercises of the Philippine
National Police Academy Kaisang-Bisig Class of 2009, President Arroyo
also ordered all government agencies to save money for food, fuel and
rice subsidies for the poorest Filipinos.
It was a reiteration of her previous instruction for the bureaucracy
to tighten its belt amid the global financial crisis and in line with
“a series of moves by the government to stop unnecessary and wasteful
The President, who has faced heavy criticism over a number of unsolved
killings since she came to power in 2001, said she had ordered police
to protect Elgine Damasco of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN), based in
the southern city of Davao.
“We must bring political killings to zero, including assassinations of
government officials and media personalities,” she declared in her
address to the police-academy graduates.
Her speech came just days after the New York-based Committee to
Protect Journalists placed the Philippines on a list of countries
where media personnel are allegedly murdered with impunity.
Damasco and his colleagues at RMN, one of the leading radio networks
in the Philippines, have blamed intelligence operatives from the
military for the death threats.
They had previously reported that the Philippine Army was linked to
the abduction and murder of Rebelyn Pitao, the daughter of Commander
Parago of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has
been waging a guerrilla insurgency for 40 years, allegedly funded by
“revolutionary tax” from local businesses and politicians.
A 2007 report by the top United Nations expert on extra-judicial
killings found the military was in a “state of denial,” after the
Philippine Army said that many deaths were the result of internal
purges in the communist ranks.
In her instruction to the state agencies to cut costs, Mrs. Arroyo
said that “belt-tightening measures” would allow the government to
provide incentives to help the private sector to generate jobs and
rescue the poor by providing them subsidies for food, fuel and rice.
”How do we fund all these? The answer is: Cut government waste. In
challenging economic times, the government must tighten its belt and
live within its means just like the average Filipino household,’’ the
Recently, she ordered the government agencies to set aside 1.5 percent
of their maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), and save up
to P7 billion to fund emergency employment and subsidies to mitigate
the negative effects of global economic crisis.
Mrs. Arroyo also ordered electricity and fuel-saving measures to bring
down by 25 percent the consumption of fossil fuels and reduce electric
consumption by at least 10 percent within 10 weeks, obliging all the
agencies to use incandescent fluorescent bulbs to save energy and
The President also reiterated that the government must convert 20
percent of its vehicles in major cities to bio-diesel and other non-
“Government vehicles including police cars, not on official trip,
should be garaged in the agency office and the keys kept by guards
during weekend and holidays. Government vehicles used by officials
below Cabinet rank may not have security plates unless there is
imminent danger to their lives,” she stressed.
And to further save money, Mrs. Arroyo said, beginning June 12, the
commemoration of the country’s 111th Independence Day, the government
shall forgo the annual parade which costs P30 million.
“Instead, we will hold a mega jobs fair so that our workers displaced
by the global crisis can find employment or livelihood,” she added.
The President said that savings and revenue sourced out from MOOE of
all the government agencies will be allocated to emergency employment
for the next six months.
-- AFP And Angelo S. Samonte
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