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‘Elevate public discourse, empower people’, Coloma tells communicators

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Mass media practitioners have a major role in elevating public discourse as well as empowering the people towards national progress and reform, Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said before the graduating batch of journalism students of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication in San Juan City on Monday.

“In the context of the present day Philippine realities what are your responsibilities as citizens and scholars? I want to suggest that to be truly relevant citizens-scholars must work purposively to become instruments for liberating our fellow Filipinos from the shackles of poverty and ignorance.

“Kalayaan po ang pinag-uusapan natin dito,” Coloma said in his commencement

message.

To achieve this goal, Coloma cited three imperatives – that the graduates serve as channel for the propagation of communication for development or C4D, that they should work together to elevate the quality of public discourse, and that the students, being masters of their craft, serve as teachers, mentors and artists of encouragement.

Explaining the C4D as a dialogue or a social process, Coloma said this is where communities express their aspirations and concerns and community members participate in decisions that relate to their environment.

The role of media practitioners is to empower people in their communities to engage them in shaping their own destiny, Coloma said.

“Kailangan po nating bigyan ng pagkakataon ang ating mga mamamayan na isaad ang kanilang saloobin, iparating ang kanilang mga hinaing at bigyang-tinig at kahulugan ang kanilang mga pangarap. Iyan po ang layunin ng Philippine Development Plan ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Benigno S. Aquino III,” he said.

According to Coloma, President Aquino wants that even the poorest Filipino benefits from the inclusive growth achieved by the country through government economic endeavors.

The media has tremendous role in raising the awareness of the people on many issues, particularly climate change and disaster response, Coloma added.

To raise the quality of public discourse, Coloma suggested that media practitioners must also focus on developmental form of reportage instead of delving too much on politics and controversies.

In concluding his message, Coloma urged the graduates to take on their roles as masters and mentors with vigor and dedication.

“Sana po ay maglingkod at magsilbi tayong lahat bilang tagapaghatid ng bagong pag-asa at tagapagtaguyod ng makabuluhang pagbabago sa ating mahal na bansang Pilipinas,” Coloma said.

By PCOO/PIA9-ZBST




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