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“Protect the Muslims, Going to the Mosque, Special Memories at WMSU, A Recollection, Resolution No. 437”

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“You will find the closest to the (Muslim) faithful are those who say “We are Christians”. This is because among them are those who renounce worldliness, and are not arrogant.”
–Holy Qur’an, 5: 82

“A Muslim is born in this world to become a living symbol of goodness, nobility, and humanity. He should win the hearts of people by his character and example then alone, he can become the ambassador of Islam.”
-Sayyid Abul A’lamaududi, Toward Understanding Islam (1997)

Two inspirational quotes as our inspiration today, one, from the Holy Book of the Muslims and other one from a Muslim religious leader well known throughout the Islamic world.

Who is not inspired and feel elated of the news that Councilor Percival Ramos through a Council Resolution passed the other day, calling the Police to give some police protection to Muslim who to go to the Mosque even before mid nights for their mid night prayers as well as before the break of dawn for the dawn prayers particularly, in this holy Month of Ramadan. And no less Councilor Abduraham Nuño expressed his gratitude to Councilor Ramos for his kind gesture.

Thank you Councilor Ramos, we cannot thank you enough.

Resolution No. 437 dated May 16, 2012 passed by our City Council which requested “all owners, managers and operators of food business establishment in the city of Zamboanga such as: hotels, restaurants, carenderias, and fastfood chains to label appropriately their food especially when it comes to buffet preparations, including their menus, so that the constituents in this city will be guided accordingly-whether it is pork, with chicken, with fish or with beef. It is high time that food business sector in the city should be sensitive especially the Islamic Faith, and even Christians whose religious doctrines do not allow them to eat pork and other Christian s for health reasons.”

But I have yet to see in the food establishments sold are labeled. This is for the reason that Monitoring group has not been assigned to implement the Resolution.

Well, I still commend the author of the Resolution Hon. Rogelio L. Valesco for his thoughtfulness.

We see every day, night and day Sec. Edwin Lacierda facing the cameras in Malacañang speaking in behalf of the President of the Philippines. He could be the envy of many but this position is hazardous in the sense that you are speaking in behalf someone high in Authority. If you commit blunders, then you’re to the chopping board, if do good, no thanks to that!

I know what I am saying. I was the Special Assistant to President (Dr. Eldigario D. Gonzales) at the Western Mindanao State University from 1997 to 2003 with the inherent functions as Spokesperson of the President and the University.

In 2003, I was designated as the first director of the Public Affairs Office with the same inherent function as Spokesperson of the president and the university which no one has ever occupied such lofty position before and after me. I really thank Dr. Gonzales for his trust and confidence. There, you are, the only qualification which separates you with the rest of your colleagues are these three words: TRUST AND CONFIDENT.

Prior to the assumption of Dr. Eldigario D. Gonzales to the high office at WMSU, the University was a “close system”. It means no news emanating from the University, if it had, it came in trickles.

With Dr. Gonzales at the helm (of WMSU) everything changed, we truly saw to it that all “good news” must come out of WMSU such: board passers, faculty leaving for abroad on scholarship, students winning in contests had to come out in the form of press releases.

In 2003, for the first time in the history of the University upon my recommendation a Journalist-In-Residence was taken a working journalist, in the person of Mr. Rey Luis Q. Banagudos who helped me not only in all press releases but the strengthening of the first University newspaper-The University Bulletin. The first Editor of UB was Prof. Art Silorio.  

We ensured that WMSU should be in the news and we did! A year later, 1998 to be exact, WMSU was considered 6th in the ranking of top University in the country. The rest is history.

When Dr. Grace J. Rebollos took the helm of the University she retained me as the Director of Public Affairs until my retirement in April 2009.

The same function as Spokesperson for the President and the University. During her presidency she was not given the full support by the Board of Regents, what was done to her was to oust her from Office. Until it was settled to a suspension.

Here, the Spokesperson was key to the lessening of the impact of that suspension. Media did not play it up in difference to my request, and the respect they had given me was great!

The only full publicity came was the suspension was lifted, Media merrily put their best efforts in accelerating their news.

Now, the question arises, is a Spokesperson necessary? It depends on the situation and the Office. Private institutions do not need Spokesperson but Public Relation Officer. His job is more on promotion.

But a Spokesperson in a government office/s is more on good governance and transparency, hence, a Spokesperson in a government agency is to help his superior articulate to the public the programs and projects of his Office.

Spokesperson, anyone?

In our next issue, we will give the qualifications, qualities and function of the Spokesperson.

Erratum: In the last issue of Bottomline dated July 30, 2012 the name of Commissioner Ricafort was misspelled as Commissioner Nora Ricaford. It should have been written as Comm. Nona Ricaford. My apology. This writer says mea culpa. This writer should be placed in the colony of African ants for an hour (as punishment for his folly).

By PROF. ALI T. YACUB, AL-HJ




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