By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
A Mindanao prelate reminded members of the local and international media to always coordinate with authorities if they intend to go to areas in the country, particularly those places considered high-risk.
Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo issued the statement in the wake of reports that three people including an international television journalist were reported missing in Sulu last week.
“Very risky sa mga dayuhan to go places like that kasi puwede kang magnet for kidnapping. Sa mga bad elements it is an opportunity for raising money,” he said in an interview over Radyo Veritas 846.
He noted that members of the media should follow the directive of the government to first report or coordinate with the authorities.
“Kaya ang paalala natin sa ating mga journalist very risky yan na madalas you perform your job in your own risk. Avoid endangering your lives if possible coordinate with the local authorities or local people or non-governmental organization in the area so that we know how to react if worse thing happened,” Bagaporo added.
He appealed to those who know the whereabouts of the Jordanian national and Al Arabiya news network Southeast Asia bureau chief Baker Atyani and two Filipino news crewmen.
“Kung talagang na-kidnap sila, ang ating appeal to those who are responsible na things like this I am sure that the very intention of the journalist is for the benefits of all including the kidnappers why they are there,” he said.
Bagaporo is not in favor of paying any ransom if the rebel group asked for it in exchange of the international television employees
“Well, iyon ang ina-avoid natin for paying ransom. Kaya nire-reiterate natin ang “no ransom policy” in order to discourage this kind of what they call added industries,” he said.