Casual Reporting on New Crackdown
JEERS TO the Manila Bulletin for its casual reporting on the president’s latest round of threats, this time issued against drivers and operators of unregistered public utility vehicles (PUV) (commonly called colorum).
Speaking at the 16th founding anniversary of the Supreme Tribal Council for Peace and Development Inc. on Friday, March 23, the president ordered a new crackdown on colorum PUVs. “If you resist arrest and the lives of the police were in danger, my order to them was to kill you,” he was quoted saying in the Bulletin’s March 25 banner story (quote was translated in English as he delivered the speech in Bisaya) (“Nationwide crackdown vs PUVs”).
The report said that Martin Delgra, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chief, was instructed to intensify anti-colorum operations.
The threat came off the heels of the recent road mishap involving Dimple Star bus which fell off a ravine in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro on Tuesday, March 20. The accident claimed 19 lives and injured 21 others.
The nonchalant reporting of such presidential remarks normalizes this use of violent threats. It is bad enough that both the Palace and the press often make light of the President’s statements, as any public statement of the Chief Executive should be considered as policy. Such casual reporting on what is clearly a threat against civilians suggests that the press has become desensitized by the president’s frequent threats to use violence against erring citizens.
It may be one of the reasons that has led the public to accept violence as a legitimate means of getting things done. This would make the press unwitting accomplice in human rights abuses.