Thursday, January 14, 2010

T-shirt costs GMA-7 cameraman Arroyo coverage in Iloilo

A GMA-7 television cameraman in Iloilo City was barred from covering President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo after he was deemed a “security threat" for wearing a T-shirt with the message “Stop Killing Journalists".

Cameraman Cirilo Renduque and reporter Fabienne Paredes were prevented by a Presidential Security Group member from going near the President when she and her delegation arrived at the Iloilo airport.

Both were barred because of the shirt Renduque was wearing, a report by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippine (NUJP) said.

The shirt also had a list of the names of the journalists killed in the massacre.

Arroyo arrived around 2:40 p.m. in the province to inaugurate the newly-rehabilitated Western Visayas Sanitarium.

But the team never reached the tarmac even after Renduque repeatedly showed his ID accredited by the Philippine Information Agency and the Media Accreditation and Relations Office of the Office of the Press secretary.

Based on Renduque’s narration, the unidentified PSG member at first told them that wearing a “plain shirt" was not allowed in the event.

When the PSG member learned that Renduque was from GMA-7, he joked that he would have let them through if the cameraman instead had a “Kapuso" shirt on. Kapuso is the monicker used for fans and employees of GMA Network Inc.

The PSG personnel also suggested that Renduque get himself a new shirt at a shopping mall so that he could change the black shirt he was wearing.

The crew was later allowed take footage of Arroyo during her engagement but the same PSG member approached Paredes and asked why Renduque had not changed his shirt.

The Iloilo chapter of the NUJP condemned the incident in a statement, saying they found no logical reason to prevent the GMA-7 crew from doing their job.

“When has this become a security threat to the President? Is this offensive to the highest official of the land? Didn't the President herself declare a national day of mourning after the massacre and has not her various spokespersons repeatedly condemned the hideous crime?" the group asked in the statement.

The group also called on the PSG to ensure that the incident will not happen again.

At least 57 people, at least 30 of whom were journalists, were murdered in the massacre in Maguindanao on November 23 last year, allegedly orchestrated by the southern province’s powerful Ampatuan clan. (Jerrie Abella / GMANews.TV)


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