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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesThursday, April 25, 2013
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BY JUANCHO GALLARDE

Reelectionist Senator Francis Escudero recently said a proposed bill that seeks to increase the penalty for the killing of media practitioners has passed a Senate committee after a long debate.

He said a lot of kinks had to be ironed out, including whether the killing of a mediaman should immediately be considered per se, as needing a higher penalty; and whether the action is an aggravated one, notwithstanding the motive and circumstances, like when a broadcaster was killed because of personal reasons, such as non-payment of debts, love triangle, and the like.

He said he believes that a heavier penalty must apply if mediamen are killed in line with their profession.

Another issue that has to be resolved is who may be considered a media practitioner. “Will this include cameramen, assistant cameramen, transcribers of a radio station, cable guys, messengers, technicians, encoders, account executives and the like?” he asked.

Escudero said there is no debate as to the broadcaster and the reporter killed in the line of duty. But other loopholes have to be addressed and carefully weighed because other sectors, such as the teachers, coop collectors, forest rangers, or even the police might also clamor for higher penalties.

Meanwhile, the new officers of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas Negros Oriental chapter took their oath of office before Escudero recently.

They were Michael Palma, chairman; Sherlyn Infante, vice chair; Dwinks Gravador, auditor; Alvin Amada, treasurer; and Procuro Balatayo, performance officer.*JG

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