Thursday, April 03, 2008

To Manila and back...

to Manila again this week. I spent 3 weeks in Manila near the end of February and up to the middle of March, and that included speaking at a conference on Impunity and Press Freedom in the Philippines co-organized by the Center for Media and Press Freedom (CMFR) and the Southeast Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA), with funding from the Open Society Institute's Justice Initiative.

One thing that made me happy I went to the conference was the presence of many radio and print journalists from outside Metro Manila. This was important, if not essential in discussing impunity and the victimization of Filipino press workers. The disproportionate number of "provincial" journalists (those quotation marks should tell you that I am as sensitive as any Cebuano/a and other probinsiyano/a is about how "provincial" is often used to imply some kind of inferiority) among the victims of extrajudicial killings from 2000 onward is disturbing. More than half of the press workers killed since 2000, it is said, worked outside Manila. Most of them were working in radio stations. It indicates that -- the NDF's effort to conflate these deaths with the military's targeting of the NDF-sympathetic Left notwithstanding -- life is more dangerous outside Metro Manila for press workers, for most full-time journalists, certainly, but apparently more so for so-called radio blocktimers. A Manila Times special report I think correctly attributes part of this disproportionate targeting of broadcasters outside Manila to the confrontation between the undying feudal values of political dynasties, warlords and politicians in the provinces and the impact (the report describes it as "modernizing," but I think it is more of a democratizing effect) that industrialization and the infrastucture that it brings -- more radio stations, more powerful broadcast signals, on-line newspapers, cellphones! -- has on the distribution of political power. A mouthful, that, but among the provincial --in that sort-of-good, Cebuano-centric way -- journalists that I was happy to see again in the conference were Sunstar Daily's Cheking Seares, ABS-CBN Cebu's Leo Lastimosa and of course, that institution of Philippine journalism named Johnny Mercado.

More to come...have to run to the airport!

(And before I forget: here's what I said at the conference. Or at least the summary of it.)

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Blogger JUAN MAHIRAP said...


In the past 2 to 3 months, the PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-SMUGGLING GROUP (PASG) has been harassing and is running after NOT ONLY the real smugglers but also LIGITIMATE BUSINESSESMEN. The said GOVERNMENT AGENCY is EXTORTING from these business establishments several hundreds of thousands of pesos up to several millions of pesos. This resulted to CLOSURE of BUSINESSES DISPLACING SEVERAL HUNDREDS OF EMPLOYEES, WORST AT THIS DIFFICULT time of the great recession adding-up to the struggles and miseries of the already poverty stricken Filipino people.
PASG will issue a mission order to give them the authority to raid warehouses and offices. They will forcefully oblige business owners to pay them from a few hundreds of thousands of pesos up to several millions of pesos otherwise they will threaten the businessmen to PADLOCK THE BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENT unless business owners will come across PASG’s terms. In fact, there are so many establishments that have been victimized by these ANTI-ECOMONY, ANTI-PEOPLE CORRUPT ACTS of the PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-SMUGGLING GROUP with the abusive use of their authority in the guise of pursuing smugglers.
PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO, take control and DO SOMETHING TO STOP THESE ANAMOMALIES of your very own PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-SMUGGLING GROUP who now turns –out to become the “PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-BUSINESS / ANTI-LABOR GROUP” that’s oppressing both Management and Employees alike. We have already sooooooooooo many problems on our plates. For the common Filipinos the problem of having nothing to serve on our plates is resolved by business establishments operating legally under PHILIPPINE LAWS now the helpless VICTIMS OF the PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-SMUGGLING GROUP.
MADAMME PRESIDENT, Maawa po kayo sa amin. Tulungan nyo po kami. Halos wala na kaming makain in the past 15 days na nagsara yong kompanya namin. PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW THIS APPARENT ABUSE of your PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-SMUGGLING GROUP TO OUR EMPLOYERS?

9:34 PM  

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