Media, guests barred in Energy Secretary visit

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Radio Veritas reporter, in his motor bike is flagged down by security guards who refused to recognized the invitation via text message sent by the Philippine Information Agency to local media practitioners.  PHOTO BY ELMER JAMES BANDOL / BICOLTODAY.COM
Radio Veritas reporter, in his motor bike is flagged down by security guards who refused to recognized the invitation via text message sent by the Philippine Information Agency to local media practitioners. PHOTO BY ELMER JAMES BANDOL / BICOLTODAY.COM

By Elmer James Bandol

LEGAZPI CITY, 16Aug2013  (BicolToday.com) – Blue guards manning the main gate of Hotel de Venecia, that holed up a group of local media practitioners, and invited guests were replaced by policemen of this city following the arrival of Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho I. Petilla who invited stakeholders for a “dialog” regarding the situation of the Electric Cooperative (ALECO) here, which has long been mismanaged.

As this developed, local radio reporters took turn in reporting on the spot saying that despite invitation from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) via text message, security guards at the gate prevented them from entering the premises and even refused to recognize the said text including photo copy of written invitation from the Department of Energy (DOE).

“Why this is happening? The media is invited but refused entry by these guards”, asked radio reporter Darlan Barcelon, While Tabaco City Councilor Ed Bermundo told the guards:. “We are trying to be civilized here, why we are barred when this is public function and the payment for the Secretary’s hotel comes from people’s money. What are they hiding from the public?”

A representative, of DepEd Regional Director Dr. Orfelina O. Tuy, while in a car, also denied entry by the same guards after presenting a photo copy of the invitation signed by DOE Undersecretary Jose Raymund A. Acol. At this juncture, other vehicles outside the gate piled up and caused traffic jam for about thirty minutes.

Newsmen including Tabaco City Councilor Ed Bermundo (in stripes shirt) are holed up in a corner of the main gate of a three-star hotel where dialogue invitation by DOE Sec. Petilla will be held. Security guards refused to answer the questions asked by Bermundo and mediamen. PHOTO BY ELMER JAMES BANDOL / BICOLTODAY.COM
Newsmen including Tabaco City Councilor Ed Bermundo (in stripes shirt) are holed up in a corner of the main gate of a three-star hotel where dialogue invitation by DOE Sec. Petilla will be held. Security guards refused to answer the questions asked by Bermundo and mediamen. PHOTO BY ELMER JAMES BANDOL / BICOLTODAY.COM

Also affected by the guards’ indiscretion, Henry Maceda, of radio DZGB, who has to rushed up in installing the equipment in order to cover the event live as requested by DOE Media Group composed of Ava Kashima Austria; Christian Robert Sandoval; Jared Carlo Ehevarria and Robert Domingo. The request was channeled to the PIA, headed by Aida Naz who then passed the message thru text to the local media.

When asked why those invited guests were prevented from entering the gate, one guard said in dialect: “We are only obeying orders” and when asked by newsmen as to who ordered them? He responded again in dialect: “Our duty here is to guard, not to answer questions”. Cooler heads prevailed, until the arrival of Petilla and his convoy composed of two police mobile cars.

Upon the arrival of the police convoy, Chief of Police Supt. Robert Morico, who was with the group said: “There is no death threat for the DOE Secretary” when asked why the security is so tight that even invited guests were denied entry. “The Secretary is a public figure, that’s why we are here”, Morico added.

 

The police took over in manning the main entrance of the hotel premises until after ALECO dialog with the DOE Secretary was over without any untoward incident.  [BicolToday.com]

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