Potential Modern-day Heroes
Kattryn Erryc Sayo

                A hero is defined solely as somebody who commits an act of remarkable bravery and is admired for outstanding qualities and achievements. But in reality, everyone can be a hero in his or her own standards.

                The province of Bulacan is indeed one of the places in the Philippines where extraordinary heroes and leaders were created. Last November 14, 2012, Bulakenyos celebrate the 137th birth anniversary of one of these heroes, Gregorio del Pilar – a young man who once dedicated his life to gratify his countrymen’s thirst for freedom.

                The celebration, dubbed as “Katorse de Nobyembre” (Araw ni Heneral Gregorio del Pilar, Araw ng Barangay, Araw ng Kabataan), did not only honor the life and legacy of the legendary Quingua and Tirad Pass hero, but it also gave recognition to the exemplary leaders of the Sangguniang Kabataan and barangays officials in Bulakan. It also gave acknowledgement to the successful projects spearheaded by the mentioned town officials.

                The event was pioneered by the local government of the municipality of Bulakan. The event took place at the Plaza del Pilar in barangay San Jose, Bulakan, which was attended by several political figures, including Senator Allan Peter Cayetano, Bulakan Sangguniang Kabataan or SK officials and barangay officials, students, and local residents.

                Gregorio del Pilar, the nephew of the famous Marcelo H. del Pilar, was also known as “Goryo”, “Goyong” and “Boy General”. He was one of the youngest generals in the Philippine Revolutionary Forces during the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War. Even at a young age of 20, he had already been participating in battles against the Spaniards and Americans in Bulacan. In fact, he was recognized as a field commander while fighting the Spanish barracks in the province. He also participated in an assault in Kakarong de Sili (now the town of Pandi), when he was among the defenders and warriors when the Spaniards took revenge and recaptured the town.

                When the Philippine-American war started, Goryo continued to carry out his exemplary heroism and leadership. In the Battle of Quingua (now the town of Plaridel), he led his troops to success as they defeated the Americans in their first phase of battle. Sadly, in the Battle of Tirad Pass which happened in Ilocos Sur, del Pilar died, as the young general was shot in the neck.

                Even at a young age, Goryo had already undoubtedly lived a significant and meaningful life through defending his province and country against oppressive invaders and leading the multitude to fight for their rights, though it meant that his life was in jeopardy.

                 The life of General Gregorio del Pilar is a challenge to everyone – to imitate and be inspired by the young hero’s valor, so much more than the warlike history he had gone through. This is the challenge: to fight for, defend and protect every human being’s rights; to become catalysts of change; and to become heroes and leaders of the modern chaotic nation state of our country.

                It is not every day of our lives that modern-day Gregorio del Pilar and the like will be there to save the day. Even through our simple acts of righteousness and willingness to support and cooperate with each other, whether rich or poor, educated or illiterate, employed or jobless, ordinary citizens or not, we can become heroes, and we are guaranteed that the dream of achieving vast development, both economically and ethically, may be highly possible.

                May the short yet courageous life of General Gregorio del Pilar stimulate the hero in the heartsof the every Filipino: to the thousands of intellectuals who vowed to serve and alleviate the country and its citizens in reaching progress and justice; and to the millions of citizens who desire for a better nation.


Positivism vs. Truth-telling
Kattryn Erryc Sayo

Aquino on TV Patrol’s News Anchor Noli de Castro    

               Last Sunday, July 29, I have read this article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer about PNoy’s speech during ABS-CBN TV Patrol’s 25th anniversary. It is entitled “P-Noy slams news delivery during TV network’s bash”. Since I haven’t watched the speech itself, I just relied on the article in the broadsheet.  Aquino has been saying that de Castro always has his negative criticisms to news, even on the good ones, which is a no-no in the profession. Well, for this, I stand with our president. As a media practitioner, de Castro can directly manipulate or shape the public’s opinion. Instead of giving his pessimistic comments on issues, he must, all the time, disseminate the truth. As a media worker, people might easily believe what he says. Moreover, a media practitioner has a great role in the society, and in what he has been doing, giving out all his negative judgment over an issue, he does not execute the chief essence of a media worker. We all know that a journalist is unbiased, neutral, fair, impartial, balanced or objective (every single adjective that pertains to a similar subject). If de Castro’s actions will be the basis, he does not purely show the principle of Journalism. Yes, we cannot avoid bad occurrences, but inserting every little negativism and opinion to issues, especially to good ones, is another story. Most importantly, we are not prioritizing opinions in the world of Journalism; we are emphasizing the truth, which all of the time must be handed to the community.

Aquino on Media’s Reporting

                      There is another article about Aquino’s speech which I had read last Tuesday, July 31. The title is “Aquino Instruct Media to Deviate in Negative Reporting”. The president would like the media to shun sensationalism and balance negative news as they also affect the outlook of other people. Also part of this is his desire for the media to veer away from negativism, or refrain from disseminating more often the distressing and undesirable issues. He would like the media to focus more on the encouraging and positive happenings in the society. Well, in one way, it’s a bit of idealism for we all know that not every single happening on earth can be considered as positive. For this, I must say I oppose the idea or suggestion of our president.

                              We are all aware that the primary principle and role of Journalism is to express nothing but the truth. It’s very simple. Everything that occurs in the society, may it be inspiring or disheartening, must all be exposed to the society. Take for instance, if a negative issue is of a major concern, should the media ignore this or let the public know about it? Of course, let the public be aware of it. Media cannot always focus on the positive ones especially if the negative stories show more importance. I’m not saying that we can’t live in an atmosphere of total optimism. It’s just in the core of reality that the country is still in the process of going there. Another thing, avoiding the coverage of negative issues would only limit us from improving. If we would lay out those stories, enhancements are highly possible. It is like when we’re in a pit of difficulties, it makes us struggle and learn more. The same goes with reporting negative news: the more we expose those stories and know about them, the more we will be aware and alert. We have more chances in waking up our intellectuals as well as ordinary folks, and the closer we are in achieving change and development.