ILOILO City – Three members of Altermidya in Panay experienced harassment this afternoon after holding a picket calling #NoToABSCBNShutdown.
Altermidya Visayas coordinator John Ian Alenciaga, IAWRT board member and anchor of radio program Dampig Katarungan Crimson Labinghisa, and Tsinkai Porquia of Panaysayon were having a discussion in a restaurant in Jaro Plaza when they spotted an unnamed state agent consciously watching on them on the other side of the road.
After noticing the unnamed agent, they went to another establishment to lose him but a witness in a nearby stall also noticed the agent taking conscious observations of their actions.
After being notified by the witness, they then went to the direction of the agent to confirm his motive. The state agent immediately scampered away.
This is not the first time members of Altermidya and progressive organizations have been subjected to surveillance and harassment by state agents.
In August 2018, a police officer was caught redhanded with his service firearm conducting surveillance during a picket of protesters outside the Iloilo Provincial Capitol. Altermidya members together with progressive members confronted the police officer and documented the incident.
Altermidya Panay strongly denounced the incident as it endangers the lives of its members as attacks against media intensify under Duterte.
For four straight weeks every Friday, Altermidya Panay joined pickets denouncing the attack on fellow media colleague Frenchie Mae Cumpio of Eastern Vista and in support of the renewal of franchise of ABS-CBN.
This new incident only shows that state agents are once again active in their surveillance and harassment against Altermidya members.
From November to December last year, the three also experienced the same incident of tailing by unnamed state agents separately.
Earlier than that, in December 2018 and March 2019, Alenciaga and Porquia were already red-tagged through posters plastered in various concrete walls and waiting sheds in the city.
The recent incident against Altermidya Panay highly speaks of Duterte’s systematic attack against the media and progressive moves under Executive Order No. 70.
The conduct of surveillance and the harassment of persons on the basis of political beliefs and the exercise of free speech and freedom of exression constitute a transgression of constitutional rights.
It has no place in a democratic society. People should not be profiled or harassed because of their affiliations or their political activities.
Altermidya Panay calls on fellow media members to intensify the call against attacks on press freedom and freedom of speech./www.panaytoday.net