November 08, 2018

THE one important media forum that yours truly “forgot” to attend, on behalf of the National Press Club (NPC), was that forum-cum-seminar-cum-consultation on Wednesday hosted by our colleagues from the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communications (AIJC) with funding (in euro or US dollar?) coming from the European Union and the government of Denmark.

The event was  held for the purpose of creating a ‘Philippine Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists’ (PPASJ), a “noble purpose” that no one can disagree with.

The NPC, of course, is among those happy to note that the AIJC is now regularly attending the meetings of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS).

It can therefore see for itself the sincere and ‘no-holds-barred’ manner by which the TF members and their media partners are doing their respective jobs in fulfillment of the TF’s mandate spelled out for them under Administrative Order No. 1 of Pres. Duterte.

In other words, by participating in the PTFoMS’ meetings, the AIJC has saved itself -- and its reputation and credibility --  from being a “victim” of falsehoods and intrigues or the “systematically negative” reports as regards the Philippine media situation being told the world media community by some of the participants in that forum.

And so, here’s extending once again the NPC’s apology for not being able to attend last Wednesday’s invitation. “Babawi” na lang kami sa susunod, ‘di ba, Pang. Lakay Gonzalo at Dir. Joe Torres?

Nevertheless, we are glad that ex-NPC president and TF head, Joel Sy Egco, was there. However, the one “odd incident” that I learned was that he was not allowed to present the “official version” (government position) of what is really going on here in our country insofar as the safety and security of the media is concerned.

But then, such “suppression” of the government’s right to freedom of expression should not also come as a surprise, PTFoMS head and DoJ secretary, Menardo Guevarra.

Did I not mention above that this activity, is “funded” or “financed” by the European Union?

Sa ating wika, “binayaran,” agh, “pinondohan” ito ng EU na bistadong kalaban ng ating gobyerno, eh, anong “parehas na pagtrato” ang puwedeng asahan dito ni Usec. Egco, aber?

And let’s stop beating the bush here, dear readers, some of the participants there, like the CMFR and the NUJP, pray tell, where are their funds also coming from?

Was it not also from the EU whose members have tainted the pages of history from the bloods of the millions of people they have murdered and displaced as colonialists and imperialists?

Indeed, each time the global imperialist bloc, the United States included, rant about the sanctity of “human rights” and the value of “human lives,” I cringe and got goose bumps , as I also tell myself, “There goes those hypocrites again!”

I’ve forgotten the victim’s name and the exact date, dear readers, but years ago, while in Davao on the invitation of my friends from the AFP, I got a call from then NPC President Benny Antiporda.

Bentot, err, Benny, requested me to go and visit the wake of a former GMA-7 correspondent turned village chairman, who was gunned down and his death, turned into another big media event as another case of “media killing” (under PNoY) by some media groups (it turned out he was killed for political reason and not because he was a former newsman).

Benny said “on behalf” of the NPC, I should give all the money in my pocket -- P5,000 -- as “tulong” to the family and that the NPC would just “refund” me when I’m back in Manila.

And so, accompanied by some soldiers (the village was in a remote part of Davao City), I went there, expressed my sympathy, handed the money to the family and asked what more can the NPC do to help.

As a further gesture of the NPC’s sincerity, I managed to contact then DILG secretary, Jesse Robredo (who was still very much alive then), and handed the phone to the wife and they talked for a few minutes as to how the DILG can help them get justice.

Incidentally, on that day too, representatives from the NUJP and the CMFR also arrived and were keenly observing all my actions until I finished my business and departed back to Davao City proper.

On my part, I also observed that aside from taking pictures of the dead man’s coffin and the family beside it (for ‘documentation’) they gave nothing else— not even a tin of cracker.

End of story? Well, not quite, Danish ambassador, Jon Top Christensen.

Just a day after arriving back to Manila, I got an urgent call from a local broadcaster and friend in Davao City “to get my side.”

What is the fuss all about, I asked. It turned out that as soon as I left Davao, a rumour was spread that “actually,” the NPC gave P25,000 to the family of the victim and that I “pocketed” the P20,000 and only gave the family P5,000, wow!

Now, who the heck, spread that canard, are you asking that, Amb. Christensen? Your guess is as good as mine!

And you got it right, Mr. Ambassador, when you stated that the “systematically negative” news being reported by some Philippine media groups reflect their “lack of ethical standard and professionalism.”

But heck, what can one expect from groups of people who have long ago abandoned the media’s code of ethics and professionalism as “slaves” of foreign interests?

Kumbaga, dear readers, kung “sino” ang may “pitsa,” ‘yun ang “amo” nila, tama ba, hehehe!

As for the CMFR, it has totally exposed itself as lacking in credibility but steeped in hypocrisy, pardon the harsh words, dear readers.

During the forum, I was told the CMFR bitterly complained that the PTFoMS has not been giving it any report or data on the TF’s activities, implying the government is “hiding” some things to the media or “suppressing” its right to access to official information.

Eh, ano ba namang pagkukuwanri at kabobohan ito, Manila Times columnist, Bobby Tiglao?

For the CMFR, just like the NPC, the NUJP, the KBP, the PPI, PAPI and AIJC, is also a member of the task force!

Ang problema lang, “ayaw” nang dumalo sa mga pagpupulong ng PTFoMS ang CMFR, matagal nang panahon! At ngayon, “magrereklamo” na “hindi makakuha” ng mga datos at ulat mula sa TF? Excuse me, noh!

In short, when the CMFR, together with the PPI and NUJP came out with a highly damaging and “systematically negative” report on the local media situation a few months ago, they really don’t know what their group is talking about as only they can tell where the heck did they get their “data.”

Or, they know the inaccuracies in their report but still, they proceeded to release it to the world and thus ensure that our country would be damned again.

Be that as it may, many are also sure their foreign funders are smiling from ear to ear, probably telling themselves, “Magagaling talaga ang mga ‘bayarang aso’ natin sa ‘Pinas!’