Impartial probe into protesters’ alleged assault on reporter sought

Impartial probe into protesters’ alleged assault on reporter sought

/ 07:17 PM June 10, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — An impartial investigation on allegations that jeepney drivers who were protesting assaulted a radio reporter during a program along East Avenue in Quezon City should be conducted, ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro said on Monday.

Castro said in a statement that she was concerned about reports that members of Manibela, a group protesting the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP), supposedly punched a DZRH reporter covering the event.

“We urge the authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial probe on the incident to determine the circumstances and context surrounding the alleged assault against DZRH reporter Val Gonzales,” Castro said


“The findings should be made public to ensure transparency,” she added.


According to the lawmaker, attacks against the media should not be condoned.  However, she also urged the public to recognize the concerns raised by the jeepney drivers and operators who fear losing their jobs due to the PUVMP.

“Any attack on civilians, especially against members of the media who are simply doing their jobs to report on issues of public interest, should not be condoned,” Castro said.

“At the same time, we recognize the legitimate grievances of our jeepney drivers and operators under Manibela who have long been demanding government support amid the phasing out of old jeepneys,” she added.

Earlier, reports stated that Gonzales was attacked by jeepney drivers protesting in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and Land Transportation Office while he was doing a live report.  However, Manibela said the reporter provoked and insulted them.

According to Manibela, drivers only approached him to talk calmly.

READ: Radio reporter allegedly hit by ‘provoked’ jeepney drivers on strike


The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) has already condemned the incident, saying that Gonzales was only doing his job.

Castro said that while they do not condone assault against the media, they still support moves against an alleged jeepney phaseout under the PUVMP.

“While we do not condone this supposed attack, we stand in solidarity with Manibela and other transport groups in their calls for a pro-people and pro-worker transport program that will not unduly burden our drivers and operators,” she said.

“We urge the Marcos administration to finally heed the demands of our transport workers by scrapping plans for phasing out jeepneys and instead provide sufficient modernization subsidies and assistance to drivers and operators,” she added.

Transport groups have held strikes even before 2024 to oppose the PUVMP, which jeepney drivers and operators believe will eventually lead to the phaseout of old and dilapidated jeepneys, including those whose engines do not conform with the latest environmental standards.

READ: PUV modernization: Understanding defiance of operators, drivers 

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Many operators and drivers lament that the government subsidies are not enough as they cannot shoulder the high costs of modern jeepneys.

TAGS: assault, Castro, jeepney phaseout, Manibela, protestors, reporter

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