Nov 212014

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Malacañang on Friday denied reports that Hong-Kong based journalists were barred from entering the Philippines for heckling President Benigno Aquino III in Indonesia last year.

“According to Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Siegfred Mison, there is no such ‘blacklist’ of journalists who are denied entry to the Philippines on account of their actions during the Apec summit in Bali, Indonesia, last year,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.

Reports from news websites, such as the South China Morning Post, said the nine journalists were forced to return to Hong Kong after being denied entry. One of them, Now TV cameraman Eric Lee Kwok-keung, was given a letter from the airline he traveled with.

The letter, published by SCMP, said the Office of the President requested that the nine be prevented from entering the country and from covering the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila for the “heckling of President Benigno S. Aquino III during the latter’s visit to Bali, Indonesia during the October last year CEO Summit.”

But Coloma insisted that the “specific actions attributed to the journalists in the 2013 APEC summit, is not one of the grounds for denial of entry into the country.”

He said the BI will verify from its records if indeed the cameraman was denied entry.

“The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), which is the office that gives accreditation to international and Filipino journalists covering official government events, has not started the accreditation process for journalists who will cover the Apec summit in the Philippines in 2015.  Therefore, no journalist has been given or denied accreditation, and there is no factual basis for the existence of a so-called ‘blacklist,’” Coloma said.

The said reporters were expelled from the Apec summit last year for shouting questions at Aquino about the controversial Luneta hostage crisis in Manila in 2010, which left eight Hong Kong nationals dead.


Apec kicks out 9 HK journalists


Aquino regrets most Luneta hostage tragedy

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