For the record I had never been made to ask permission when shooting live reports in various locations daily, so my experience in Marcos Highway yesterday was something new.
Around 7:45 am, after my live report, four policemen had confronted and asked me if I am a member of the media and requested for my ID.
I explained that I left my ID inside our news cab, which was parked by the nearby checkpoint. Reporters do not normally wear ID when they go on live.
The cops responded that I should ask permission before going live, they also accused me of taking a video of them.
They said, “Dapat po nagpaalam kayo sa amin na mag-la-live po kayo.”
Surprised with this seemingly new directive, my voice went higher when I explained, “Araw-araw po ako nagla-live report sa iba’t ibang lugar, ngayon lang ako nakarinig na kailangan magpaalam sa pulis kapag magla-live. Bago po ba ‘yang utos kasi lilinawin ko yan sa JTF-Covid Shield.”
The officers said it was not.
“Hindi naman po, Sir, pero kailangan n’yo po ng coordination kasi vinideohan n’yo po kami.”
Journos As Enemies?
To prove that I did not film them, I showed them my phone. I felt bad because I was accused of something I did not do.
Confused, I even uttered, “What if I’m an ordinary citizen, a vlogger perhaps? I could have experienced the same, but I will never have this opportunity to be heard and to confirm from officials. I could have just settled and followed.”
What irritated me the most was when one police officer made a horrifying remark, “Baka kasi, Sir, kalaban ka.‘”
Filming Not Prohibited
My conversation with the cops had ended peacefully, but I knew I have to clarify this from a higher official, so I asked Joint Task Force COVID SHIELD Commander Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar in a text message, to which he replied, “Walang ganyang instruction, Mark.”
Eleazar also said that ordinary citizens filming in public places is not prohibited.
PNP is always saying that they treat media as ally and partner in maintaining peace and order and they do respect the freedom of the press.
But how can we expect them to walk the talk if they can consider anyone on the street as their “enemy”?
Not all cops are like them because I have been covering crime and defense beat for quite some time now, and I got to make friends with some of them, from the lowest to the highest rank.
About the Author:
Mark Makalalad is a news reporter of GMA DZBB, covering the Philippine National Police and the Department of National Defense. He also covers Eastern Metro Manila and loves doing human interest stories aside from the hard news from his beats.