Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr government affirms commitment to safe, free media environment

2023 June 17

SAFE MEDIA ENVIRONMENT. Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil (center) meets with Dutch Human Rights Ambassador Bahia Tahzib Lie and Dutch Ambassador to the Philippines Marielle Geraedts on Friday (June 16, 2023). Garafil assured the diplomats that the Marcos administration is committed to upholding press freedom and ensuring a safe media environment in the country. (Photo courtesy of Presidential Task Force on Media Security)


MANILA – The Marcos administration drew praises from the Dutch government for its commitment to give the Philippine media a safe environment.

This, after Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil on Friday briefed Dutch Human Rights Ambassador Bahia Tahzib Lie and Dutch Ambassador to the Philippines Marielle Geraedts about the Philippine government’s resolve to uphold press freedom and make the country a safer place for media.

In a Facebook post, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) shared photos of Garafil’s meeting with the diplomats from The Netherlands.

Garafil explained to Lie and Geraedts the administration’s position on a range of issues related to press freedom and the actual media environment in the country, the PTFoMS said.

“At the end of the meeting, the Dutch delegation expressed their elation and satisfaction on the continuing efforts by the Marcos administration to sustain a safe environment for members the press in the Philippines,” the news release added.

Also present during the meeting were PTFoMs executive director Paul Gutierrez, PTFoMS chief of staff Jyro Go, PCO Assistant Secretary for Operations Evangeline de Leon, and PCO Assistant Secretary for Special Concerns and International Media Affairs Michel Andre del Rosario.

In a separate statement, Gutierrez said the Marcos administration is committed to providing a “safe and secure” environment to the Philippine press, a reaction to a 2023 report of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism which claimed that the Philippine media landscape is “largely grim.” 

Gutierrez belied the “false report,” saying the current administration upholds and protects the rights of media workers.

“The decision of President Marcos Jr. to continue with the PTFoMS is the clearest demonstration of his administration’s commitment to the strengthening of our democracy and in sustaining an environment that is generally safe and secure for all members of the press,” Gutierrez said.

“The corollary aim is to ensure that all transgressors of media rights are made accountable before the law.”

Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)