Inquirer, GMA 7 allowed to cover Sabah crisis


LAHAD DATU—Despite a reported ban on Filipino journalists by the Malaysian government, the Philippine Daily Inquirer and GMA 7 news teams here were accredited by the authorities on Wednesday, allowing them to cover the Sabah crisis.

The Inquirer and GMA 7 are the first Philippine news teams to cover the daily press conference conducted by Sabah Police Commissioner Hamza Taib at the Felda Sahabat Residence Resort here.

The Filipino reporters were given permission to cover here by the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry of the Malaysian government on Tuesday.

On the same day, the Inquirer and GMA 7 were allowed to go to an evacuation center in the village of Embara Budi.

This was around the same time the Humanitarian and Consular Assistance Team from the Philippine Embassy was allowed by the Malaysian government to visit the Filipino evacuees and attend to their needs.

This was a far cry from the experience of Filipino journalists who came here earlier, just as the first shots were fired between the followers of the Sulu sultanate and the Malaysian security forces.

They had to go through tight security checkpoints and at times were asked to present their passports for identification. Some had their mug shots taken at police stations.

Presscon in Malay

At the press center—the Felda Sahabat resort lobby—the Inquirer and GMA 7 teams are working and getting along with Malaysian journalists.

A couple of them have become interpreters for the Filipinos, as the press conferences are conducted mainly in Malay. The Filipino and Malaysian journalists also share a table at the press center.

The Malaysian journalists have also become the Inquirer and GMA 7’s resource persons, such as confirming names of security officials as well as the villages mentioned during the press conferences.

The Filipino and Malaysian journalists also exchange notes, as well as banter while working.

During downtime on Wednesday, GMA 7 reporter Cedric Castillo poured a 3-in-1 coffee mix into his unrefrigerated bottled water, instead of having hot coffee in the searing heat.

This reporter followed suit. And minutes later, a Malaysian journalist did the same.

Restrictions remain

While authorities are more lenient as “Operation Sovereignty” entered its ninth day, restrictions remain imposed on journalists.

These included interviewing evacuees, venturing into the red zone, and roaming around the Felda Sahabat premises.

Journalists were told to always wear the regulation bright yellow reflectorized vests with “MEDIA” printed at the back to easily identify them as noncombatants.

A note outside the press center also reminds journalists to inform the public information officer here, a ranking police official, where they are headed, even if they are just returning to their hotels.


Nearly a hundred journalists, the majority of whom are from Malaysian news agencies, have swooped down on the resort, some having stayed since the start of the operation against the Sulu group.

Journalists staying at the resort hang their laundry outside the windows, with the need to wash clothes becoming imperative owing to the length of the stakeout.

Reporters waiting for updates from Hamza are oblivious to the beautiful view of the Celebes Sea, the beach, the manicured lawn with a colorful playground and the garden pool—all enjoyed by local tourists before violence erupted on this part of Sabah nearly two weeks ago.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • bongarroyo

    dapat kasi kayo mga reporter ay hindi nagtatahi-tahi ng mga kwento lamang…
    tama na iyong sina skafire at sugbuangon na lang ang gumagawa noon….pareho namang mga ugok ang dalawan iyon..

    • speaksoftlylove

      Manahi ka na lang o kaya magmanicure, dyan ka magaling.

    • tadokapurpledaisy

      korek kasi mga lap dogs ni kirat ang mga yun

  • speaksoftlylove

    Inquirer and GMA7 journalists are allowed to cover “the daily press conferences conducted by the malisyan police commissioner.” Then they were allowed to visit the evacuees.

    But they were prohibited from interviewing the evacuees, venturing into the red zone, and wandering around the Felda Sahabat premises. Hence, we can conclude that they are covering the Sabah crisis. Amazing!

    What is this PDI? You can watch the daily press conference in your main office or watch video footage of the evacuees for all we care. But is this what you call coverage of the Sabah crisis? Goog grief.

    • bongarroyo

      ayaw mo niyan mababalitaan mo na naman dito na pinapaksiw na ng mga malaysiano ang mga ka teroristahan niyo ng lolo kiram mo..

      • tadokapurpledaisy

        korek kasi pinasubo nya ang mga taong inuto nya para magpunta sa sabah. samantala dada ng dada ang estupido kasama ang prinsesa ng banyerang si jacel. mga duwag

  • pepito gwaps

    Mas maganda kung makunan nyo ng mga photo yong sinasabi nilang napatay nila sa shoot out. Baka naman puro sibilyan yon. Yong iba sa pinapahayag nila ay fabricated na katulad nong 2 unang casualties ng police nila na sinabi umano na-mortar kaya namatay pero nong nagkwento nayong kasama ay sinabi na nabaril yong 2 ng sniper sa ulo. Actual footages never lie…

    • Matambaka

      after bombardment…..”The enemy Was Defeated” daw…

      Grabe ang palakpakan sa Facebook..Congratulations ang mabasa sa Twitter….

      Next day…naghahabol na naman sila…Buhay pa pala hanggang ngayon! lol

    • pretty_ugly_1

      Well, maybe there was a confusion at first. But the later story from the policeman who was involved in the operation stated that the first two casualties was indeed caused by sniper.

  • kurakut


    • Matambaka


  • kismaytami

    LOL! Nakakaawa itong mga malaysians, walang pinagkaiba sa mga tsekwa, de susi ng gobyerno nila. At sa sobrang pagka-praning ng gobyerno ng malaysia, sila na lang nagpa-fabricate at nagde-disseminate ng balita. Ayaw nila na mahalukay ng mga curious journalist ang mga buto sa kanilang closet.

    • nuke24

      Pero maunlad sila na mga bansa, tayo nganga.. Alam lng natin ay Human rights natin at mga privileges. Karamihan sa atin di alam ang responsibilidad natin bilang pilipino.

  • ApoLapullapu

    What the Malaysians have allowed is a guided tour – not a news coverage. They are not allowed to see the action. They are just feed Malaysian propaganda.

    • parefrank

      What you want? That journalists will attend police operations and be shot dead? Ask RP police or military if they would allow journalists and camera teams togo with the to an action or fighting.

  • parefrank

    to Apolapulapu
    you wrote:
    What the Malaysians have allowed is a guided tour – not a news coverage. They are not allowed to see the action. They are just feed Malaysian propaganda.

    What you want? That journalists will attend police operations and be shot dead in a battle with the armed criminals? Ask RP police or military if they would allow journalists and camera teams to go with them to an action or fighting. At least, they can talk to the refugees.
    And strict control of movement is normal, how police should safeguard journalists without to know where they are. Just imagine that the Kiram killers kidnap journalists and then go killing more police and people while using the MEDIA vests.

  • WeAry_Bat

    PDI, ask your photojournalist and video men not to carry their equipment like it were rifles. A colored strap instead of a black strap may help.

    Videos leaked of the mistaken shooting of middle-east journalist by US helicopter gunship. My opinion, from faraway camera, the gunner mistook them carrying rifles in a sling with the way they walked and carried them. Rescuing van shot repeatedly, mistaken as support. When cavalry came to check, that was when the mistake was found.

    I suggest the equipment be held in front and pointed downwards when not in use. Only in the movies do they hold firearms out front. In reality, armed people carry and shoot sideways to minimize profile from bullets.

  • JosengSisiw1

    Wow are GMA 7 & Inquirer really proud being part of Malaysian propaganda? SHAME ON YOU!

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks




latest videos