Poe asks probe into strafing of Negros Occidental broadcast journalist's house

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Grace Poe condemned the strafing of the house of a radio broadcaster in Negros Occidental as she called on authorities to look into the incident.

Senator Grace Poe (Senate of the Philippines official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Grace Poe
(Senate of the Philippines official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

"The strafing at the house of broadcaster Rey Siason in Talisay, Negros Occidental is deplorable and should not go unpunished," Poe said in a statement.

"We urge the authorities to get to the bottom of this incident," she appealed.

Poe said media practitioners should be allowed to their job, which she described as "critical" in the country's democracy.

"Threatening or harassing them with this cowardly act will suffocate the truth and freedom of the press," she said.

Siason was not home when unidentified gunmen strafed his house in Talisay City last Wednesday night.

Fortunately, his relatives were not hurt in the incident. In a Facebook post, he said he found empty shells of a caliber .45 pistol in his house after the strafing.

Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, earlier asked the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) to set up a dedicated hotline for media workers where they can report threats amid increasing cases of work-related harassment and killings.

“This is a priority: a dedicated hotline . It’s really to report threats. We have long been asking for that,” she told PTFoMS executive director Joel Egco during her committee's inquiry on the killings of journalists and broadcasters last August 8.

"They should be protected and cases of their killings should also be resolved," she added.

The senator said telecommunications companies may also be tapped "in a way that reports sent through text messages may be free of charge."

Poe likewise called for the creation of an independent agency to ensure the protection of media practitioners.