A media slay/ DOH Code White / No X’mas money for top PNP execs

>> Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Alfred P. Dizon

Just days before Christmas, assassins killed the first media practitioner under the Duterte administration on Monday, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines said.
Larry Que, publisher of Catanduanes News Now, was shot in the head by a lone gunman as he was about to enter the building that houses his insurance office late Monday.
Que succumbed to a gunshot wound in the head early Tuesday. The NUJP condemned the murder and challenged the Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media to immediately solve his killing.
According to the NUJP’s Catanduanes chapter, Que’s murder came after his column criticized what he called negligence of local officials in allowing a shabu laboratory in the island province.
Authorities claimed the raided shabu lab was the biggest so far discovered in the country.
The NUJP’s Catanduanes sector also reported Jinky Tabor, who acted as a witness to the raid on the laboratory, has also received death threats.
“It should be stressed that the murder of Que is not the first assault on journalists under the current administration,” said Dabet Panelo, secretary general of NUJP.
On the day of Duterte’s inauguration, motorcycle-riding gunmen shot and wounded Saturnino Estanio of Radio Mindanao Network’s dxRS in Surigao City and his 12-year old son, Panelo said.
She added a bystander was also wounded injured in the incident. 
Last month, Pangasinan journalist Virgilio Maganes survived an attempt on his life by gunmen who apparently attempted to disguise the hit as drug-related.
They left behind a cardboard placard that supposedly branded him as a drug pusher.
“Thus far, we have to hear back from authorities despite the creation of task forces to investigate these thankfully botched assassination attempts,” Panelo said. 
“It has not helped that Duterte, who has shown a total aversion to criticism, and some of his officials have time and again been openly hostile towards journalists and the media as a whole, with his loyal supporters taking up the cue and heaping insults, curses and even threats through social media on several of our colleagues,” the NUJP said.
The NUJP is calling on the administration “to walk the talk” and prove its professed respect for press freedom “by ending its penchant of falsely blaming media for deliberately misinterpreting its often inconsistent and incoherent messages and instead working on making its communications crystal-clear.”
Que’s murder came after the Paris-based press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders in its annual round-up showed high concern over the continued killings of journalists around the world.
The Department of Health has placed all government hospitals under Code White alert until Jan. 5, 2017 for firecracker victims this Christmas Season and New Year revelry.
Code White alert means these hospitals make sure they have enough manpower, medicine and medical supplies on standby.
“In Code White, no one is allowed to take a leave. It is more of preparedness. The hospital is ready 24/7,” said DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial said. The health chief assured the public all DOH hospitals are prepared to attend to firecracker victims during this Yuletide celebration.           
Ubial reiterated the DOH’s call for the public to avoid using firecrackers to prevent loss of limbs and life. She cited need for parents to watch over their children, who accounted for 42 percent of injuries related to firecrackers during the 2016 revelry.
The health chief has asked all local government units to organize community fireworks displays to encourage the public to stop use of firecrackers. 
The DOH started its surveillance for injuries related to firecracker blasts, stray bullets and watusi poisoning last Wednesday.  
Following public criticism, ranking officers of the Philippine National Police will not receive hefty cash gifts from President Duterte after all.
A day after PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa announced Duterte had allocated P50,000 to P400,000 in cash incentives each for star rank officers and police provincial directors, he said Malacañang will no longer give the cash bonuses.
During Monday’s Christmas party for police officers and their families in Camp Crame live on television, Dela Rosa told officials entitled to cash gifts to proceed to his office to claim their financial incentives.
However, not a single official, including those who waited until evening, received money. When he was asked where the money was sourced, Dela Rosa replied it might have come from the intelligence fund of the President.
Dela Rosa blamed himself, saying Malacañang apparently became “discouraged” to release their cash incentives because of his announcement.
“When we held a press conference, a lot of people asked where it was sourced. Malacañang was discouraged,” Dela Rosa told reporters. “They told us, maybe before New Year, we will be given one sack of rice each,” he added.
Dela Rosa admitted some of his fellow generals became frustrated after learning they will no longer receive the cash bonuses. Dela Rosa told fellow officers to just wait if there would be cash incentives for them from the government.
On being more careful with his pronouncements in the future, Dela Rosa said it could not be helped because he is “a transparent person.”
Several members of the PNP were disgruntled when they learned only high-ranking officials have cash gifts from the President.
PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos assured every policeman they will receive their performance-based bonuses this year. “No one will be left out,” he said.
On the part of the military, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he is not asking for an extra Christmas bonanza for senior military officers.
“It’s up to the President if he will give or not. I don’t know if we too will have the extra bonus because the President has not been coming over to us (at Camp Aguinaldo). But I am not asking him for that,” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana said he was not even aware about the extra Christmas gift for the police as announced by Dela Rosa.
When asked if he too is hoping for the cash gift like that of the PNP, Lorenzana said he is not losing hope.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP Public Affairs Office chief, said there no is such extra bonus in the military. Arevalo said that as far as the military is concerned, the entire rank and file is happy with the President’s full support to the entire organization to accomplish its mission.


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