CEGP cries foul over Gwen’s reply to school pub’s statement
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) decried Cebu Provincial Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s response to a school publication’s statement about her deployment of a special unit specifically tasked to trace individuals who post negative criticisms about the government’s measures against the COVID-19.
Today’s Carolinian (TC), the official publication of the University of San Carlos (USC), published an editorial on Facebook titled “A GOVERNOR IS NOT ABOVE THE CONSTITUTION,” condemning the alleged intimidation of the governor against critics.
TC said that such actions is a violation of constitutional rights.
Garcia, through her personal Facebook account, Gwendolyn Garcia, replied to the editorial, inviting the editor-in-chief of TC, Berns Mitra, to her office on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, to discuss the matter.
“This so you can further elucidate on what you must believe is your ‘erudite’ opinion about my actions and decisions,” Garcia said in her reply to TC’s editorial.
For CEGP, this affirms the statement of TC that the governor is trying to intimidate her critics.
“The Constitution protects the people’s right to free speech and even in a dire situation such as the COVID-19 health crisis, our constitutional rights are not waived. It seems the Governor needs to be reminded of this,” said Claire Obejas, vice president of the CEGP.
The national student guild also said that it stands firm that Garcia’s “special unit” tasked to trace criticism of the government’s initiatives to contain COVID-19 is a violation of constitutional right to freedom of speech, as well as “an unnecessary realignment of valuable resources into crackdown policies against the people.”
“The governor may also be investigated for violations to the Campus Journalism Act of 1991, which upholds and protects campus journalism and the independence of student publications,” said CEGP.
CEGP urged the provincial government to focus on implementing mitigating measures against Covid-19 instead of focusing on criticisms.
It urged the governor to implement immediate medical solutions instead of military actions; ensure the health and safety of workers and employees in the public and private sectors; ensure free, mass COVID-10 testing and services, and re-channel the P4.5-billion confidential and intelligence funds towards health.
It also asks to impose stringent price freeze, ensure constant, 24/7 access to clean water supply, and support and fund local scientists and health workers.
Read more: Capitol forms task force on price control
On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Garcia said that she formed a special unit to trace and track down all those who will violate the imposed measures of the provincial government against Covid-19 and those who will post negative comments against these directives. /bmjo
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