The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) is deeply disturbed about the way Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque responded to a question raised by Virma Rivera, a video journalist and producer for the BBC.
Ms. Rivera simply asked for a comment on the Palace statement that Filipino fishermen lied when they claimed to not have access to the inner lagoon of the Scarborough Shoal. Together with her team of BBC journalists, she’d recently documented the Chinese blockade in the area.
The tone of Sec. Roque dismissing the BBC report as deception and rumor was disparaging and condescending, as he sought to assign ill motive to the network’s report and singled out Ms Rivera for it.
This was not the first time Sec. Roque had treated journalists, women in particular, with disrespect.
Sec. Roque has the right to counter allegations but there is no justification for insinuating Ms Rivera and her team, which includes BBC correspondent Howard Johnson, are out to destroy the government.
FOCAP members Ms Rivera, Mr Johnson, and the rest of the BBC were merely doing their jobs. They reported what they saw, and presented the story they were told.