Media Release: Philippines29 August 2013
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National
Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the raid in the
central provincial capital of Iloilo City by the local police force’s Special
Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) squad on radio station Aksyon Radyo early Sunday
morning. The NUJP reports that the Iloilo City chief of police Ruperto Floro
described the tactics employed by his men as “standard operating procedure”.
raid, which was captured on CCTV, demonstrates that Filipino security forces
are improperly trained in their human rights responsibilities and lack proper
restraint and clear-thinking in tense situations. NUJP says that the video
footage of the incident clearly shows no resistance by station employees or the
station’s security guards, and full compliance with police orders
this, NUJP says the SWAT squad:
and manhandled an unarmed security guard who had complied with their orders to
lie on the floor.
their weapons at the station’s personnel,
the station’s male employees to take off their shirts
mobile phone video footage taken by the station’s engineer on his mobile phone,
a “tactical search” of the station that included the personal belongings of
says the raid took place after a nearby shooting incident. Seven youths hid in
the building that also houses the radio station. The youths were later taken
into custody by the police. But Aksyon Radyo personnel had alerted police to
the presence of one of the youths and had readily opened the station entrance
and introduced themselves in order to assist the police.
response, the SWAT team continued to treat the radio station staff as suspects,
even when they were clearly cooperating with police instructions and were
clearly not the suspects the police were seeking. The kicking of the security
guard, who was complying and was not a threat, demonstrates that the SWAT squad
had overstepped the bounds of control and restraint. The deletion of the cell
phone video without the owner’s permission is a clear assault on press freedom
and could well be considered destruction of evidence.
Asia-Pacific said: “The ongoing culture of impunity in the Philippines in
relation to the targeted killing of journalists and the alleged involvement of
dozens of police in the 2009 Ampatuan Massacre of 32 journalists is a dark stain
of the performance of the Filipino police authorities. It is only natural that
journalists have a grave and deeply-felt mistrust when it comes to the police.
The appalling aggression displayed during the incident in Iloilo City amplifies
the reasons why trust between media personnel and Filipino law enforcement is
at such a low.
join with our affiliate in demanding the Philippine National Police impose the
maximum sanctions possible against the SWAT members responsible for threatening
and assaulting our colleagues and for interfering with journalists going about
their civic duty. We further urge the Aquino Government to take urgent steps to
train its police and military forces across the country in the role of the
media in a democratic society, and the need for those agencies to comply with
the international legal obligations of UN Security Council Resolution 1738 on
the protection of journalists in combat zones given the comprehensive failure
to do so in the instance of the Ampatuan Massacre.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countriesFind the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacificFind the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific