Gumaca radio station reports to NUJP over harassment

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GUMACA, Quezon Province – National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) here exposes the (alleged) harassment being perpetrated by Gumaca Quezon Mayor Erwin Caralian and his brother, Vice Mayor El Chor Caralian against Radyo Natin Gumaca.

Radyo Natin Operations Manager Mitch Hernando has complained that despite having complied with all the necessary papers, the station is being denied renewal of the Mayor’s permit until now. She added the duo have also made it hard for the station to secure a business permit for several years in the past.

But this year, Hernando said the Mayor even went to the extent of trying to conspire with National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in harassing the radio station.

Hernando said the station’s mother network, MBC, had told her Tuesday, March 12, that Mayor Caralian was at the NTC, alleging that Radyo Natin is operating illegally, and wanted the station closed down.

Two days after, on Thursday, representatives from the NTC, Business Permit and Licensing Office and the Treasury Department indeed came to the station to “inspect.” After the inspection, however, Hernando claims she received assurance from the NTC representative that the station will not be shut down.

“This is plain harassment meant to intimidate the station and force it to just toe the line,” said NUJP.

Media groups have recorded at least 99 cases of attacks and threats against the press during the first 22 months of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

The NUJP urges members of the media to resist these attacks on press freedom.

“This we will say again and again, the independent Philippine press, the Filipino journalists and the freedom-loving Filipinos will make sure that such attacks will not succeed in silencing us,” NUJP vowed.

To serve as backgrounder, Radyo Natin Gumaca Station Manager Hernando had turned to social media on Saturday, March 16, to express her outrage her over alleged harassment by Mayor Caralian and threat to close the station affiliated with MBC.

Hernando narrated that she was terrified and felt like a criminal, and her parents were stressed, when a big group composed of firetruck, representatives from the town’s Business Permit and Licensing Office, Treasury, NTC, barangay, along with men in plainclothes rushed up to the station office in the third floor of her residence.

Neighbors said there were also few policemen below and were surprised at the spectacle.

The representative from NTC explained that they are in the station for normal inspection, but found the papers complied with and assured Hernando, the station will not be closed.

Hernando believes the harassments were triggered by two stories aired over GMA 7, Radyo Natin Gumaca and used by other news outfits.

She added that there is long standing personal differences between them.

Hernando said her program, “Dear Heart” that tackles affairs of the heart and breaking or top-of-the-hour news, so there is no way she could make editorial/commentary on issues. [BicolToday.com]

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