PALACE ALL  SET  FOR  LAUNCHING  OF  P5  MILLION  PRESS  FREEDOM  FUND 

MALACANANG, May 15, 2005
(OFFICE  OF  PRESS SECRETARY) Malacaņang is all set for the launching tomorrow (May 16) of the P5 million Press Freedom Fund that will provide financial support to the campaign to flush out the suspects in the killings of journalists and stop violence against members of the media community.

In a radio interview this morning, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye said P3 million of the Fund will come from the office of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, while the office of Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. will put up the remaining P2 million.

Malacanang and House Speaker de Venecia initiated the consultative meeting among various media groups, including private sector leaders, and representatives of concerned government agencies to look for ways and means to stop the criminal attacks on journalists.

During the Malacanang meeting, members of media associations are expected to draw up a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the effective and efficient utilization of the P5 million Fund.

Bunye explained that P2 million of the press freedom outlay will be harnessed as reward money for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of suspects in the killings of media members, P1 million for the Witness Protection Program (WPP), and the balance of P2 million for the operations of a Quick Reaction Team that will respond to incidents involving media practitioners.

Records show that 24 journalists have been killed in the country in the last three years.

The President has directed Interior and Local Government Secretary Angelo Reyes to immediately draw up plans to solve the slaying of journalists and prevent future attacks.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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