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PDEA regional chief vows to improve media relations

By Isagani P. Palma, Senior Reporter

The regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has ordered his four PDEA agents to undergo an orientation seminar with the Civil Service Commission following a reported spat with a local news team of the ABS-CBN.

PDEA regional director Yogi Filemon Ruiz said the seminar that will be conducted by the CSC regional office in Koronadal City aimed at imparting to the participants the Basic Customer Service and Values Orientation, which is necessary for the PDEA agents in handling media relations.

Ruiz said he also ordered the setting up of a separate media receiving center within the PDEA regional headquarters to dispel public conjectures that the agency has been treating indifferently members of the media.

"Actually, there was a slight misunderstanding between our media friends and some of my operatives on the ground but I will not allow it to happen again," Ruiz said.

However, Ruiz also spelled out the protocol for journalists who are conducting coverage on PDEA operations in order not to jeopardize the lives of his men conducting surveillance and follow up operations on the field.

The reported harassment against the ABS-CBN news team took place at the PDEA headquarters after the ABS-CBN reporters arrived from their coverage on joint PDEA-police anti-drug operations in Sarangani, where authorities were able to seize some P70,000-worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" from suspected drug dealers.

ABS-CBN reporter Jay Dayupay said the alleged harassment stemmed from their previous news reports criticizing the PDEA's manhandling of drug suspects arrested in Silway, Barangay West, this city.

In a recent visit to Malungon, Sarangani town, Ruiz was given an unsolicited advice by Mayor Reynaldo F. Constantino on how to deal with the media. He even promised to help the PDEA strengthen its relations with the local media.

The PDEA official met with Constantino after the latter committed to provide monthly subsistence allowance for PDEA-12 detainees.

"Mao gani nga ako na giingnan dinhi nga pahimuan gyud ug laing agianan, ug unya patindugan sa media center ang kampo para dili pud makaingon ang atong mga higala nga anti-media ang among ahensiya dinhi sa Rehiyon-12 (That is why I have already ordered the construction of a media center and make a separate entrance for reporters so that we will not be branded as anti-media by some quarters here in Region-12)," Ruiz said.

Last week, Ruiz met with local officials of the Kapisanan ng mga Broadkasters sa Pilipinas (KBP) and tri-media members wherein he apologized for the misbehavior of his personnel towards the members of the media. (MALUNGON INFORMATION OFFICE).

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