Opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero yesterday said press freedom will decline further in the country if the proposed right of reply bill becomes law.
"I urge and call for continuous vigilance. Let us not be lulled into complacency by the seeming quiet in the lower house," he said in a statement on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.
Escudero said he expects the proponents in the lower house to move into high gear in an attempt to pass the controversial measure before Congress adjourns sine die in June.
In its latest report, the US-based Freedom House said that while the Philippines had the highest rating among the 10 southeast Asian nations, it was among those emerging democracies where press freedom has suffered considerable declines over the last five years.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has ranked the Philippines as one of the 14 countries where journalists have been targets of attacks in the past year.
Escudero, who is chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, has vowed to vote against the right-of-reply bill