By Shiela Mae Butlig
THIS city’s largest media organization has condemned the actions of the presidential staff who told one of its members to leave the campus of University of Science and Technology in Southern Philippines (USTP) last Sunday.
In an interview yesterday, Cagayan de Oro Press Club president Ritchie Salloman said the personnel of President Rodrigo Duterte could only disallow members of the press if they are considered a threat to the safety of the President.
“The PSG [Presidential Security Group], as you know, has only one thing in mind and that is to protect the President. If the member of the media comes in and you look like a threat, it is the job of the PSG to protect the President and not let him in,” Salloman pointed out.
Rappler correspondent Bobby Lagsa said he was outside the USTP gymnasium on Sunday, where the campaign rally was underway, doing man-on-the-street interviews when he was approached by a staff of the Media Accreditation and Relations Office (Maro) and told to leave the campus “Para ‘di na tayo magkahiyaan.”
“If Lagsa was not (allowed) to get in because he is a member of Rappler that is something we have to condemn,” Salloman said.
Lagsa, for his part, said he was doing interviews outside the venue after he was denied accreditation to cover the event the day before.
He said he tried to get accredited via the Cagayan de Oro City Information Office which referred his application to the Maro.
Lagsa said he did not encounter any problem getting inside the USTP campus at about 5 pm and was able to interview several persons outside the gymnasium before he was told to leave.
He said he was wearing his Rappler ID while doing the interviews but said he did not try to get inside the gymnasium. (with reports from nujp)