Monday, April 30, 2012


Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press.
Tomorrow will be another Labor Day, or as critics of the Left Movement say -- "Araw ng Pag-ngawa" (Day of Whining).

Expect the usual. Rallies in Plaza Mendiola, or Liwasang Bonifacio, leftist politicians vociferously launching tirades against the government, describing it as a puppet of the United States, as enemies of the poor, as opponents of the working class. There will be calls for the passage of the P125 across the board wage hike. They will ridicule the administration’s latest round of wage increases as “cheap” or “loose change”. We won’t hear anything we haven’t heard in the past Labor Day demonstrations.

As usual, a lot of people will be attracted to these rallies: college students wanting to become rebels without a cause, urban poor citizens from private lands they’ve squatted, rural farmers disenfranchised by decades of feudal landlordism. I wonder if after all these years of attending rallies, they will finally get what they really seek from it. They way I see it, they are being exploited by leftist politicians in their “12 hours of Hate”, their own version of Two Minutes Hate from Orwell’s “1984”. These politicians will convincingly try to develop to the mindset of these people that they are oppressed by a certain “ruling class” that the system of things in this country has to be overthrown and overturned in order to shift the balance of power in favor of the oppressed. This illusion has been set in the minds of the attendees for past Labor Days, an illusion they still dream of becoming a reality in this democratic country.

What these people don’t realize is that by attending these demonstration, they are oppressing themselves even further, as they are missing out their chance of uplifting themselves out of poverty and misery. If the unemployed, who will come to bash the government’s labor policy, will instead flock to the DOLE’s Job Fairs tomorrow, then they will have a greater chance at finding employment, whether temporary or permanent. After all, better to have a temporary job than no job at all. If these misguided youths would instead apply for a summer job in order to save up money for their tuition fees come June, then it wouldn’t be harder for them despite the increase in matriculation this year. Indeed, there are better things people could do instead of being part of this conspiracy of hate against our democratic way of life.

If only the Left Movement could do something different this year. Something more positive and pro-active, perhaps public opinion won’t be against their favor (at least for this year). In the past Labor Days, we haven’t seen leaders of the Left organize a job fair in cooperation with the DOLE, or launch a campaign that would help government agencies crackdown on employers violating wage laws. We don’t see the Left Movement organizing fundraisers for the purchase of lands people have squatted, or for the construction of housing complexes meant for the relocation of informal settlers. “Any action committed in anger, is bound to be doomed”, as Paolo Coelho once said. Definitely, any action committed by the Left tomorrow out of anger for our way of life, will just plant seeds of oppression, depression and desperation on the part of the poor. They will simply supplant an already deep-seated seed of illusion which they call in their language, “revolution”.

Enough with hate, Reds! It’s time that mass actions on future Labor Days be geared towards the achievement of positive and proactive solutions to the long-standing problems plaguing the plight of the ordinary working class, poor Filipino. TSS

Monday, April 23, 2012


I was following the news today about the 16th National Press Forum by the Philippine Press Institute at the Trader's Hotel in Pasay City wherein President Noynoy Aquino gave a chiding speech on "Media Accountability and Public Engagement". In the speech, Aquino lambasted how some media outfits erroneously reported about his activities, such as one report which surfaced last March about the president's alleged date with Grace Lee in Greenhills during work hours, as well as the recent visit of the Qatari emir.

As if hit in the head, some journalists were quick to cry foul about the President's statements. One TV5 journalist was quick to question in Twitter why the President pinned the blame on them. This tweet was immediately responded by fellow journalists from the Rappler, GMA 7 and freelance news bloggers, criticizing the President for sounding like his predecessor and for being too onion-skinned.

Which figures, because apparently, the media outfits who responded to the President's statements were the one's who proliferated such reports in the first place. After the forum, TV5 News and Information chief Luchi Cruz-Valdez was quick to defend her company's name by emphasizing how media acted in times of catastrophe when the government did not or fell short. If these media platforms are not guilty of inaccurate reporting, why do they have to feel the need to be on the defensive? I guess it wasn't just the President who is onion-skinned after all.

Media platforms must be forgetting the forum was about media accountability. If I were a journalist in this forum, I would have been more eager to learn on how to improve my accountability and integrity as a journalist then haughtily defending my misgivings. The President wouldn't be making such statements on media credibility if there wasn't anything amiss. Besides, noting once more the theme of the forum, it would've have been off-topic if the President simply praised the media in the Philippines as outright "fair and balanced", when some players in the industry are not. Journalists should be even thankful that such sentiments were expressed at a media forum on media accountability, unlike other local politicians who expressed similar statements while wielding a gun.

This is a good sign. It just shows how we are still a working democracy, when government officials like the President still exercise some restraint in expressing their displeasure over the media rather than resorting to violence.

Let us not forget that aside from being the medium of information, media is also an industry. And however has access and control over information wields more power, perhaps even greater power than the government. An industry like this is vulnerable to any attempts at stretching, twisting the truth in order to reel in higher ratings, increased viewership and greater profit, especially for an industry newbie.

Let us not also forget that the media is the mirror of the nation, but if such mirror makes us miss the goodness for the ills in this body we call the Philippines, then such mirror is not working for our best interest as a nation. It's not about creating tall stories just to highlight what is good about the government the majority has elected. It's about fairness, showing both sides of the coin, revealing the whole picture. TSS

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