By Tara Yap
Aklan – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has expressed concern over the guidelines released by two separate government agencies relating to the media coverage of Boracay’s shutdown on April 26.
“We demand that government not impose restrictions on journalists who will be covering the Boracay closure,” said NUJP in a statement Sunday.
Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier said “journalists need permission to cover” the shutdown from the Department of Tourism (DoT).
Over the weekend, DoT released a guideline with specific rules setting limits on the number of reporters allowed to cover the shutdown.
It said only DoT-accredited journalists are allowed in Boracay.
Even then, they could only be there from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and only in “designated areas.”
“Not only is the rule unconstitutional, it is illogical. One would think the government would want full media coverage of its efforts to rehabilitate the once-proud tourist destination. Unless, of course, there are things it does not want the public, through the media, to know,” NUJP emphasized.
NUJP also wondered if Boracay has become a war zone that the government is instituting such “extreme” measures.
“What ‘clear and present danger’ could there possibly be in the Boracay closure that would warrant prior approval from the DoT?” noted NUJP, which is headed by lawyer Jo Clemente.
Other rules included the barring of journalists from staying overnight in Boracay.
NUJP is urging journalists to “insist” on their right to cover the shutdown.