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A meaningful week for Zambo media

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It is good to be home even for a few days only—to be with family, to join colleagues in the media profession, and occasionally meet good friends. The warm smiles of friends in Zamboanga are truly priceless.

It has been a meaningful week for some of us in the Zamboanga media—co-members of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Zamboanga City Chapter and the Zamboanga City Press Club Incorporated.

We learned more about the salient features of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill that is pending in the House of Representatives from Right of Information Right Now Coalition Convener Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan.  Atty. Nepo, who flew over to Asia’s Latin City on November 20, met over a hundred students and teachers from some of our schools here, emphasized the value of our Constitutional right of free expression, and shared his insights on the bill as well. 

With Atty. Nepo was our NUJP Secretary-General, Rowena Carranza-Paraan.  She discussed the relevance of the provisions especially when said bill becomes a law.  “It is not just important for us journalists, but to every Filipino who needs to be informed because we journalists are but passers-on of information.  That’s why we are called ‘reporters’,” she stressed.

A challenge is continually posed before all of us in media, and we in NUJP-Zamboanga asked ourselves:  “Debe ba el periodista queda un ejemplo? (Should a journalist be an example/model?) We invited ‘Ehemplo’ author Fr. Albert ‘Paring Bert’ Alejo of the Society of Jesus to share with us his ideas on shared integrity, as he discussed media ethics and the role of media in the transformation of society.
The discussion was enlightening, and I aver Teodyver Arquiza’s words, “Father, parang sinuntok kami sa buwan.” But I guess we in media should have moments of spiritual reflection as well. Anyone in any profession for that matter should take time to take a step back, and reflect on what we have done, and self-assess if we are doing something meaningful that we can leave behind as significant legacies if not contributions to the transformation of society.

And on November 23, we in Zamboanga media were joined by more than a hundred students and teachers from eleven schools in the city, in observing the death anniversary of the Maguindanao 58.  We remembered our slain colleagues, Ladjid Jade Ladja of Prensa Zamboanga, Rev. Greg Hapalla of DXAS Radio Zamboanga, Gloria ‘Golondrina’ Martin of DXXX Radio Isabela, Basilan, Rey Bancairin and Candelario ‘Jun’ Cayona of DXLL Radio Zamboanga.  We offer them prayers, and seek justice for them.

It is vital to quote NUJP-Zamboanga in its statement  that:  “Of the 153 media workers unjustly killed since 1986, 102 are from Mindanao and 5 are from Zamboanga.  Six of these victims were killed during the Aquino administration and 2 within the transition period, after May 2010 elections but before the June 30, 2010 oath-taking by President Noy Aquino…We seek justice for these media workers.  There is not value for government officials to talk about transparency, accountability, and good governance if efforts to pursue justice for unresolved killings are not in the foreground.”

By Frencie L. Carreon




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