Who’s making the NEWS?
Nico Villaceran

    In the twenty-five months of his administration, for the first time, President Benigno Aquino III address his observation on how our Philippine media reports. Dating back to his 3rd SONA (State of the Nation Address) when PNoy pleasingly said,”Sana po tuwing sasabihin nating Magandang gabi bayan ay totoong hinahangad nating maging maganda ang gabi ng bayan.” The president hit the signature line of our former vice president and current TV Patrol news anchor Noli De Castro.

                           Last Friday, the night after the opening of London Olympics, July 27, at the 25th Anniversary of ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol news program held at the Manila Hotel’s Grand Pavilion the issue’s fire continues. Again with his Tagalong speech, President Aquino III humored,”If there is a competition for understanding and self-restraint, perhaps I would be a gold medalist here”. The president complaint on what he observes in Philippine media for negativism instead of spreading good news.

                       “Napaisip nga po ako, 'yong nagkomento nito, hindi ba’t anim na taon ding tumangan sa renda ng gobyerno? Sabihin na po nating minana lang din nila ang problema, 'di hamak mas luma naman ang ipinamana nilang problema sa amin”, the president said not naming De Castro but referring to a TV Patrol anchor who is an ex-government official.

                       “Anim na taon ang ipinagkaloob sa kanya para tumulong sa pagsasaayos ng mismong inireklamo niya. Pero ngayon, tayo na nga ang may bitbit na problema, tayo na nga ang tutugon dito, pero masakit nga ho, may gana pang hiritan ng nagpamana?” the president said.

                         “May naitutulong po ba ang mga walang basehang spekulasyon? Kung alam mong opinion-maker ka, alam mo rin dapat na mayroon kang responsibilidad , the President said about De Castro’s regular ending comments and opinions in TV Patrol.

                          The NUJP (National Union of Journalists of the Philippines) valiantly commented,” Instead of demanding the media to report a story the way Aquino sees it, he should take off his rose-tinted glasses and descend from the heights to walk through the muck and the grime that the people he professes to serve live in”.

                         “Call it what you will, Mr. Aquino, but we, the truly independent Philippine press, will not acquiesce to your wish that we sugarcoat the reality that we not only see and witness but also live in.”

                         “That would be, in the very words you use, albeit misguidedly, truly negativism,” the NUJP added.

                        “I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts not to distort truth by omission or improper emphasis. I recognize the duty to air the other side and to correct substantive errors promptly”, from The Philippine Journalist Code of Ethics.

                       When we say “ I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news”, we’re not saying not exact but scrupulous. And when we say “report and interpret the news”, we’re saying NEWS whatever it is, whether black or yellow. Well, if the president didn’t understand a simple grammar then his Bosses (Filipino people) must take him back to an English remedial class. The public will always have a right to real information. The easy way to distinguish the situation is a journalist line ”Sorry, walang personalan, trabaho lang”. Following our job is following the Ethics, if you follow the ethics you will also follow and serve the truth.

                         The Aquino’s administration, reaction, actions and even the implementations, all of his moves is the newsmaker, not the media. We only just factually interpret the information but his the one and his administration that created it, from the high to lower sectors of the government. It is not the media’s iniquity to report a bad news and also, it doesn’t mean it’s NEGATIVISM, it’s the TRUTH. If you read and seen a lot of bad news today in Televisions and Print, remember, we don’t put the blame on the Networks and to the newspapers. Media is the fourth estate, its being a truth interpreter, protector and deliverer. And the other three estates including the administration of President Aquino III is the newsmaker. 


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. 


Aids Does Matter
Deliza Maye Fernandez

                   Ang ikatlong State-of-the-Nation Address ni Pangulong Benigno Aquino III kamakailan lang ay umani ng papuri sa mga Pilipino at sinasabing ito na raw ang pinakamagandang SONA ng pangulo. 

              Walo sa sampung taong aking nakapanayam ay nagustuhan ang kanyang SONA. Marami sa kanila ang nagbigay importansiya sa bahaging pangkalusugan na ipinahayag ni PNoy. Matatandaang ibinida ng pangulo ang pagtaas ng bilang ng nakaenroll ngayon sa PhilHealth. Mula sa 62% noong dating administrasyon, umakyat ito sa 85% sa kanyang pamamahala. 5.2 Milyon dito ang nakikinabang na sa No Balance Billing policy ng Department of Health. Sinabi pa niyang ang lunas sa mga sakit tulad ng Asthma, Pneumonia, Katarata, at maging ang iba pang Catastrophic diseases tulad ng breast cancer, Prostate Cancer, at Acute Leukemia ay makukuha ng libre ng mga pinakamahirap na Pilipino. Magandang balita rin ang tungkol sa pagtaas ng bilang ng mga nurses na naipapaabot sa mga bayan na mistulang napag-iwanan na ng pag-unlad. Saklaw ito ng Pantawid Pamilya.

                 Wala akong nakikitang masamang hatid sa pahayag ng Pangulo. Ang sa akin lang ay mas magiging ayos sana kung nabanggit din niya ang isyu tungkol sa Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) na maaaring maging AIDS o Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Matatandaang lumobo ang may kaso ng HIV sa bansa simula ng bagong milenyo at patuloy pang lumulobo. Ayon sa Philippine National Aids Council, 9,669 na ang kumpirmadong may ganitong kaso sa bansa, maliit na bilang kung tutuusin sa 100Milyong tao sa Pilipinas. Pero hindi pa kabilang dito ang ilang mga taong may mga sintomas at hindi pa umaaming mayroon sila nito. 

                Ayon naman sa United Nation’s Department Program, Sampung impeksyon ang nadedetect kada araw. Tatlong beses sa naitala noong mga nakaraang taon. Ito ay nakakaalarma bilang ang Pilipinas ay isa sa pitong bansa sa mundo kung saan ang HIV ay mabilis na dumarami ng 25%. Malaking porsyento ang sinasabing dulot daw ng men-to-men sex. Marami ang nagsasabing dahil daw ito sa kakulangan ng kaalaman ukol dito at maging ang simbahang katoliko ay tampulan ng sisi ukol dito sa pagbabawal gumamit ng mga contraceptives.

                     Bagama’t pinaglalaban ni PNoy ang RH Bill, naniniwala akong mas pinag-uukulan niya rito ang pagpigil sa pagdami ng populasyon sa bansa. Naging matunog na ito noong nakaraang mga buwan. Gusto ko sanang malaman kung anong plano ng pamahalaan ukol sa nakakaalarmang virus na ito na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa matukoy ang solusyon para dito. Sana’y katulad din ito ng kaso ng Dengue sa Bukidnon na mula sa 1,216 kaso ay bumaba na lang ito sa 37 dahil sa mosquito trap.  


Pilipinas: Kahapon, Ngayon, Bukas
Justine Marie Bernardo

“Ang bayan ko’y tanging ikaw, Pilipinas kong mahal. Ang puso ko at buhay man, sa iyo’y ibibigay. Tungkulin ko'y gagampanan, na lagi kang paglingkuran. Ang laya mo’y babantayan, Pilipinas kong hirang.”

What’s with me? Am I patriotic? Hah. No. I just wanted that introductory though it’s not that related.  

It’s cliché because people always make the present time the most horrible days ever while the past is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened in the world. Well then, how about flipping the situation? How about the good news for the present time and the bad news for the past time? 

Positive side - Present time

Ever wonder what’s “good” in the world today? From all of the disasters, wars, pollution, and poverty, what do you think are the opposite side of these things?

Number one, the technology. We live in the generation wherein almost everything can be instant. Food, Hygiene, Transportation, Houses, and even Artificial Insemination. All of these can be brought with money. (But of course it requires a lot of money too.) In the past years, we never had these things in just a snap. It’s a choice of working it very hard to turn out to be yours and let it come to you by luck. You will never see a person holding his Desktop, CPU, Keyboard, Mouse, and Speakers walking in the street to be in a Café Shop. But in the present time, you will only see a small and a big rectangle. It’s either a “techie” bitten apple or a cute green alien.

Number two, the way of living. Unlike in the past years, many of us are really having a worst life. There are many people (especially the women) who are unable to study and do the things they want. But now, whatever a man can do, women can also do it and vice versa. They were also instant jobs and sidelines that can make a living. 

Number three, education. As the 90’s kid, I’ve never thought of having a laptop. I just want to play outside and though I have scars and dirty, I don’t mind them. But then, when it comes to education, I only focused on books. A book that was never changed and never moved. The words and figures are very limited. I’ve never saw a giraffe in my entire life. But in the present time now, many kids will just connect into the World Wide Web, and as they search in the internet, even the little things about giraffe they could see and learn from it. 

Number four, the freedom of speech. Journalists in the previous time are powerless against the government. And journalists back then ware being killed and being forgotten by all people because of the fear that others will be also killed. Philippines is the most dangerous place for a journalist. But now, they have already that power to speak and reveal everything that they knew. It was also considered Journalism is the 4th state lining with the executive, legislative and judiciary. 

The fifth and the final, the gender fair relations. All of the women in the Philippines back then do not have chance to study and have a good and decent job. They were all in the house and serve as the “housewife”. They’ve been discriminated and are being abused like the comfort women in the old days. 

I’ve never thought that I will think this way. But then, we should always look at the positive side of everything. Even though the bad things are leading, we should think of the good ones. It will also boost our minds and think many times. 

We should not also over think. Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. We should make our ways to overcome problems and we should eliminate things that can make us down.  


Bakit nga ba sa dinami-rami ng sakunang dumaraan sa mga Pilipino, lagi pa rin tayong nakangiti? 
Justine Marie Bernardo

Natatandaan ko nung hayskul palang ako, tinanong sa amin ng aming guro kung anu-ano ang katangian ng isang Pilipino. Pangkaraniwan at hindi pangkaraniwan. Iyan dapat ang sasabihin ko kaso, hindi na ko naabutan. Pero bakit nga ano? Ano nga ba ang pinanghuhugutan ng mga Pilipino na kahit pa anong mangyari, lubog na ang mga bahay, sunog na ang kanilang mga ari-arian, lindol, nakatira sa mga evacuation centers, o kahit sa mismong pang-araw-araw na kakulangan sa pagkain at pamumuhay, at minsa'y hindi na nakakakatyempo ng matinong trabaho, ay nakakaya pa rin ang ngumiti? Sa oras na nakakita ng kamera na galing sa isang sikat na broadcasting network, ngiti at tawa parin ang namumukod-tanging ekspresyon ng mga tao sa Pilipinas. Sa paanong paraan pa nakakatawa ang isang tao sa kabila ng wala na siyang makain o nalunod na ang kanilang mga bahay? Ay nako, ibahin mo ang Pilipino.

Sabi ng ilan, kaya sila nakakatawa kahit sa anong sitwasyon ng buhay nila, halimbawa nalang kapag nasunog ang kanilang mga gamit, ang pinakaimportante lang para sa kanila ay wala ni isang nasaktan, nawala o namatay sa kanilang pamilya. Kaya nilang mabuhay sa kalsada, o mamalimos kung saan saan basta't magkakasama silang pamilya. Kaya nilang isuko ang lahat ng kanilang ari-arian kung ito nama'y kapalit ng buhay ng isa sa kanilang mahal sa buhay. Hindi talaga tipikal ang pamilyang Pilipino. Sama-sama sa hirap at ginhawa.

Kaya naman hinahangaan tayo ng ibang bansa sa tibay ng samahan ng bawat pamilya. Isipin mo, sa isang bahay, may nanay, may tatay, may mga anak, at mga lolo at lola pa! Isama pa natin ang mga tito at tita, pati na rin ang mga pamangkin. Tinatawag itong extended family, na lahat, kahit isang lahi pa yan, ipagkakasya at ipipilit na isama sa iisang bahay. Hindi na iniisip ng pamilyang Pilipino ang siksikan, kakulangan ng pagkain, at mainit na kapaligiran kung kapalit naman nito ay magkakasama sila.

Ang mga Pilipino nga naman, hindi maikukumpara sa mga taga-ibang bansa. Hindi ba’t sa Amerika, sa oras na ang isang bata ay nag-labinwalong taong gulang na, aalis na ito sa bahay ng kanyang mga magulang. Kung hindi siya magpapatuloy ng kolehiyo, aalis siya at magtatrabaho. Siya na ang susuporta sa sarili niyang pangangailangan. Ibig sabihin, hindi narin siya responsibilidad ng kanyang magulang sa oras na umalis na siya ng bahay.

Pero sa Pilipinas, kabaligtaran ang nangyayari. Walang “Time Limit” sa bahay. Depende nalang sa kanila kung paaalisin ka nila. Kung miyembro ka ng isang marangal na pamilya, nararapat lamang na mag-aral ng kolehiyo at magtrabaho. Ganun din naman sa may kahirapan na buhay pero minsan, hanggang hayskul lang ang natatapos ng ilan. Minsan nga wala pang grade six ng elementarya ang naaabot ng mga ito dahil sa sobrang hirap ng buhay. Kaya kadalasan, nakakapag-asawa na ang anak ngunit nakatira pa rin sa bahay ng mga magulang. Hindi na rin ito makakapagtrabaho dahil walang natapos. Iyon nga lang ang mahirap sa kasalukuyang panahon, ni ultimo panggatas ng apo, sagot narin ng mga lolo at lola. 

Hindi naman ako kabilang sa extended family. Pero para sa akin, ayos lang naman iyon. Hindi ba’t may katagang “the more, the merrier.” Iyon nga lang, dapat ang lahat ng miyembro ng bahay ay may kanya-kanyang tungkulin sa pamilya. Hindi pwedeng wala. Hindi naman porket pinatuloy kayo sa isang bahay ng matagal na panahon e magiging “bwisita” nalang kayo. Minsan kailangang magkusa tayo ng loob dahil hindi naman lagi tayong papansinin at pupunahin sa ating mga ginagawa. Kailangan din ng konting hiya sa sarili. Isipin mo, silang lahat nagtatrabaho tapos ikaw tambay? Para naman yatang baligtad ang nangyari. Lahat kailangang gumalaw. Lahat kailangang magsama-samang iangat ang pamilya sa kahirapan. Iyan ang sikreto ng pamilyang Pilipino kung paano nila napapanatiling masaya ang kanilang loob. 

Kung ako naman ang tatanungin sa pagkamasayahin ng Pilipino, hindi na ito bago sa atin. Isipin man nilang baliw tayo, o ano pa man, ganun talaga e. Tawanan na lamang ang problema kaysa multuhin ka nito habang nabubuhay ka. Ika nga ng ilan, parang mga unggoy ang mga Pilipino. Kasi kahit na sa anong aspeto ng buhay, ang unggoy lagging nakatawa. Lalo na kapag nakakuha siya ng isang saging. Abot tainga na ang ngiti. Simple lang kasi ang kaligayahan ng mga Pilipino, at kadalasan, hindi nakukuha sa materyal na bahay.