AFP chief vows freedom of information for media

MANILA, Philippines – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Rey Leonardo Guerrero promised to ensure the media's "freedom of expression of information," as the Defense Press Corps (DPC) celebrated its 50th anniversary on November 23.

"You have been one of our reliable bridges to the Filipino public as your coverage of our services and sacrifices have earned us the trust and confidence of our constituents," said Guerrero in a speech delivered by AFP Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans Brigadier General Cornelio Valencia.

Guerrero also praised the DPC for helping "protect the democratic institutions that safeguard freedom of speech, information, and expression."

"What matters is one's accuracy and credibility. In the military, accuracy and credibility allows us to accomplish our mission effectively, to serve the public, and earn their trust going forward to new challenges," he added. 

The AFP chief's speech comes as the country marks the 8th year since 58 people, 32 of whom worked in the media, were killed in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao. To this day, no convictions have been made.

The Philippines is among the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.

Presidential Task Force on Media Security executive director Undersecretary Joel Egco earlier said they expect a partial judgment, including convictions against those accused, by 2018.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself has ordered both Egco and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to focus on the case.

Egco said the task force is also focusing on current cases of media harassment and killings in the country. –