Killing of journalist covering drug-bust operation in Rizal condemned
The killing of Jojo Trajano, a reporter of the local tabloid Remate who was killed while covering a drug-bust operation in Rizal early morning Wednesday was condemned by Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today.
Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), stressed that media practitioners risk their lives daily as they scout for news that the public should know about.
"Members of the Fourth Estate should be commended for their nobleness in risking even their lives just to provide timely and relevant information to the public, especially during times of national emergency and crisis," he said.
The senator underscored the necessity for insurance coverage for journalists in the field whose children and other loved ones are left bereft when tragedy occurs.
Trajano will be the third journalist to benefit from the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) inked last Jan. 14 between the PNRC and the National Press Club (NPC) granting insurance benefits to mediamen more so when covering disaster and conflict-stricken areas.
The first was Tonette Marquez who died two weeks after figuring in an accident on his way home. He was followed by Press Undersecretary Jo Capadocia.
Capadocia died last April along with seven other Palace officials when the presidential helicopter, which was supposed to bring them to Ifugao where President Arroyo was scheduled to visit, crashed.
All the 1,200 bonafide NPC members all over the Philippines were enrolled in the PNRC as "Platinum Members," which entitles media practitioners assigned to cover disasters and conflicts to an insurance package of up to P300,000.
Gordon explained that the insurance package would cover benefits for accidental death, disablement, dismemberment; and unprovoked murder and assault amounting to P300,000 provided by Prudential Guarantee and Assurance Inc.
The Platinum category also covers benefits for accidental medical reimbursement up to P10,000; burial assistance (as a result of accident) worth P5,000; and daily hospital allowance (maximum of 60 days) worth P200 per day.
Trajano and PO2 Virgilio dela Cruz were killed when police clashed with a band of suspected criminals in Rizal province shortly before dawn Wednesday.
Initial investigation revealed that Trajano tagged along to cover an operation against suspected drug peddlers and car thieves in San Vener Lupang Arenda, Barangay Sta. Ana, Taytay town at 2:25 a.m. when they were ambushed by the suspects.