UN special rapporteur visits Cebu

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital Multimedia Reporter | January 29,2024 - 04:48 PM

UN special rapporteur visits Cebu

LOOK: UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression Irene Kahn (in purple) in a dialogue with representatives from Cebu media organizations Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) and Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists (CFBJ). | Contributed Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A United Nations (UN) special rapporteur has raised a suggestion on the need to further improve relations between the media and police here in Cebu.

Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression, paid a courtesy visit at Camp Sergio Osmeña, the headquarters of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), on Monday, January 29.

Top police officials presented to Khan the current situation of human rights and freedom of expression in the region.

During Monday’s event, among the suggestions the UN special rapporteur raised was for the police to enhance police-media relations.

“We are delighted for the visit of Ms. Irene Khan who gave us also a lot of inputs on how to further improve the performance of our law enforcement,” said Police Lt. Col. Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson at PRO -7.

According to Pelare, they planned to conduct more seminars and knowledge-learning for the police to improve media relations and security.

“We are doing that already but we will improve it more so that the transparency of police operations, accessibility of information will be sustained here in PRO-7,” he added.

The closed-door meeting was also attended by officials from the Office of the President and local media organizations.

These included Lawyer Hue Jyro Go, chief of staff of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoms); Arnold Bustamante, president of the Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists (CFBJ); and Roger Vallena and Fred Languido of the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC).

Go, for his part, said the PTFoms was glad to learn about the “vibrant democracy and freedom of information” in Cebu while Bustamante, speaking for CFBJ, added that press freedom remained alive in the island province.

“Ang press freedom buhi pa gihapon, wala ta ka experience nga gibaatan atong mga baba, gigapos atong mga kamot sa pagsuwat sa tinood nga mga impormasyon kung dunay mga kahiwian nga nahimo atong kapulisan, ang atong opisyal sa gobyerno, free ta nga mosuwat niini,” said Bustamante.

Cebu is Khan’s fourth stop since arriving in the Philippines last January 22. Prior to her visit here, the UN special rapporteur also went to the cities of Manila, Baguio and Tacloban.

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