The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC), the country’s biggest organization of active media practitioners, is looking forward to “better days” under the leadership of president-elect, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, as it called on all sectors of society to unite behind him.
“With his victory in the just concluded presidential election already a foregone conclusion and which is now merely a matter of formality by way of his inauguration several weeks from now, we join Pres. Rody in his call for national unity,” said NPC president Paul Gutierrez of People’s Tonight.
“Criticism being thrown against Pres. Rody this early by some quarters is unnecessary and undeserved. We urge our colleagues in the profession and the public to give him the so-called ‘100 days honeymoon period’ that have been accorded to all past presidents as a matter of courtesy,” Gutierrez added.
Nevertheless, Gutierrez said media is hopeful that Duterte would also prioritize the resolution of media killings and other cases of media suppression as well as in strengthening the role of the media in national unity and rebuilding that were all simply ignored and neglected by the Aquino administration.
“Along this line, we call on Pres. Rody to strongly reconsider his reported plan to appoint Atty. Salvador Panelo as press secretary.
“While we have nothing personal against Atty. Panelo, the fact of the matter is that he is a lawyer of the Ampatuan clan, the principal suspects in the 2009 massacre in Maguindanao where 34 of our media colleagues were among the victims.
“Among the injustices that the media is calling for Pres. Rody to address is the Ampatuan massacre that was only given lip service by the Aquino administration.
“Definitely, members of the press would find it hard to interact, and work with, a press secretary whose main client are the suspects in the wholesale murder of the members of the press that has outraged the entire world,” Gutierrez said.