EAVESDROPPER: The captive press

March 4, 2010 at 6:50 am Leave a comment


By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

Someone asked me lately, “Whom are you writing for?”

I did not easily understand what he was pointing at and I asked him back. What do you mean for “ writing for?”

He retorted that most media practitioners these days have political candidates as their “godfathers” and many of them have been making money out of their “PR” work so that most of the time the contents of their newspapers are no longer press work but “praise releases”.

What he said made me think.

I could not imagine myself as among these media people who have made a different lifestyles of themselves because financially they are well-off with the kind of PR work.

The thought that media people are already captive of political personalities brought shivers to my spine. If that is so, then what kind of information are we giving to our readers- are they real or imagined just for the sake of writing news these politicians and their supporters want to read and hear?

This maybe true or not, but the independence of the press especially during these days of political campaign, is at stake. Is the press (with the mushrooming of new publications) true to its mandate as the purveyor of truth? Is the press already a political tool, that its independence has been marred by the desire to amass money?

Media practitioners by all extent are deprived of financial gains out of this profession or vocation. But that is a sacrifice that media people have to take. When press people are already at the beak and call of the politicians, what kind of future are we going to give to the next generation?

Of course, who will not want money? But when money becomes a centerpiece of writing news, then we are no longer bringing the right information to the people but we are becoming “ captive press” who are subservient to the whims and caprices of the politicians.

Maria Ressa, the news director of ABS-CBN once said,” We are, first and foremost, professional journalists- regardless of who own us.

In like manner, Ermin Garcia, Sr., the illustrious journalist-son of Pangasinan once wrote in the editorial of Sunday Punch on March 3, 1963, “.. free and fair press would create a vacuum into which would step in some captive press – newspapers and periodicals subsidized by the government, by politicians, by vested interest, by pressure groups”.

It is no wonder that we could hear media people who are in the payrolls of governors, mayors and even “jueteng operators.”

This is the stench that will take a long time to be erased from the minds of the people.

By Virgilio Sar. Maganes

URDANETA CITY- “On June 30, 2010, I shall be relinquishing the reins of the City Government to the duly elected city officials of Urdaneta after nine years at the helm of our rapidly progressing city. I shall be leaving with the City Government in utmost stability, the local economy in unpararelled vibrancy, our community in admirable serenity.”

This was the opening statement of Mayor Amadeo R. Perez, Jr. of this city as he delivered his last State of the City Address on February 22at the Balikbayan Hall of the Cultural and Sports Center before barangay officials, religious and non-government organizations, members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the academic community, civic groups and the business and private sectors.

He said that when he assumed the mayoralty on July 1, 2001, the city government was in near bankruptcy as debts were staggering and revenue collections were lagging.

The city’s situation, Perez said, was appalling so he started the difficult part of housecleaning by introducing “reforms in systems and structures as well as changes in approaches and attitudes.”

On the city’s financial stability, the business tax collections in 2009 has considerably increased by three-fold from P21.2 million in 2001 to P66 million. The situation is the same for property tax collections, receipts from public market operations which include bagsakan market and the city abattoir or slaughterhouse.

In support to education, Mayor Perez cited that the city government was able to construct 63 new school rooms and repaired and rehabilitated 83 classrooms from 2001 to 2009. The Livelihood Skills Training Center was also constructed to improve the technical skills of the youth and unemployed adults to become more competitive in the job market.

On health advocacy, the city government expanded its health programs by delivering basic health services to the communities, thus a City Health Office III was established in Labit Proper village in 2009. There was also an increase in PhilHealth enrolment from 500 indigent-families in 2001 to 8,000 in 2009 with the assistance of the provincial government.

The agriculture sector was beefed up through the provision of 8,000 certified seeds and 15,000 bags of organic fertilizers as subsidies to farmers. A total of 350,000 fingerlings were also released in different barangays to provide farmers with alternative means of livelihood including goat dispersal to livestock raisers.

Peace and order, he said, remained stable as crime volume dropped by 13.52% compared to 2008 with an average crime rate of 7.02 per 123,000 population. The stability of peace and order remain as one of the reasons why businesses prefer to set up shops in the city.

Mayor Perez lauded the efforts of the local police force of the Philippine National Police, the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams and the Public Order and Safety Office (POSO) for the maintenance of the peace and order situation in the city.

On this, he said,” But we should not –we must not- be complacent because of the success of our peace and order efforts. Let us remain vigilant and responsive by being on our toes, keeping our skills sharpened, making sure our facilities are ready, and constantly sharing information and cooperating with each other.”

Perez expressed his thanks to the Sangguniang Panlungsod headed by Vice Mayor Julio Parayno for the support accorded to him saying “ whatever success we achieved is because of your support. I am just your humble servant with a mandate to do what is best for our city and its people.”

Perez appealed to the city folk to choose wisely their leaders in May 21010 elections, “leaders who can govern with integrity and transparency, with dedication and dignity. Leaders with no other agenda but the good and welfare of our dear city.”

Entry filed under: News.

Ang Maso EDITORIAL:The Noah principle

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