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MMDA exec faces lecture for ‘tokhang’ joke

MANILA, Philippines — An official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority will be given a lecture for allegedly joking about including reporters who write “negative” stories about the MMDA in the government’s war on illegal drugs, a Palace task force official said yesterday.

Joel Egco, who heads the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, said he will lecture the MMDA official on President Duterte’s Administrative Order 1, which created the task force to deal with “violations of the right to life, liberty and security of members of the media.” 

Egco said he is verifying the information given to him by a reporter. “I’d like to ask other reporters who were there to verify via private message to me,” he said on Facebook.

“Lesson: Such a joke is worse than a bomb joke,” he added.

Egco said the MMDA official “started a joke, let’s see who starts crying. Even President Duterte does not do that, sir. Just do your job.”

Jojo Garcia, MMDA assistant general manager for planning, invited reporters to a press briefing at the conference room of MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim in Makati City to present traffic schemes approved by the Metro Manila Council.

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Before the press briefing started, Garcia repeatedly joked about reporters who write negative stories about the MMDA. Asked to name them, Garcia refused.

Nasaan na yung 45 ko. Ipatokhang natin iyan (Where’s my .45? Let’s include them in tokhang),” referring to the government’s Oplan Tokhang, in which local officials and police visited the homes of drug suspects, many of whom were later killed by unidentified armed men.

Reporters were not able to record Garcia’s statement. Among those who were present at the time were reporters from The STAR, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, TV5 and Rappler.

The MMDA did not issue any statement on the matter.

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