Isang Maligayang Araw ng Kalayaan

This government is trying to urgently enact an Anti-Terrorism Bill – right now, in a time of crisis – as if this country does not have a history of immense injustices against the common people; constant abuse of power; rampant corruption; threats to freedom of expression; and, egregious human rights violations. As if the harmful rhetoric currently permeating our society paired with various problems and barriers in the judicial system do not continue to nurture a hostile environment, which allows for prevalent impunity. The very culture of impunity that further helps in ushering the critics and the marginalised to their graves, without justice nor consequence.

Contention about the bill is brought about by the erosion of trust in our state institutions to provide adequate protection and lay out safeguards from possible intimidations.

A new report by the UN Human Rights Office highlights Filipino citizens’ “fears over their safety and a sense of powerlessness in the search for justice.” Among other human rights concerns, it also raises anxiety over the institutionalisation and normalisation of the “vilification of dissent” in the country. Challenging policies and bringing issues up for debate are constantly being maligned – at the expense of human rights, due process, and state accountability.

Nonetheless, the report also mentions that the “Philippines has a long-standing and robust tradition of human rights advocacy and activism.” Whenever there is a threat to curtail our liberty, we fought back. Our hope is rooted in the faith that this is not going to change. Hindi tayo pasisiil.

The future is full of worries even on the eve of our Independence Day anniversary. I wish that today we can contemplate on our strengths, as a country of the people, as well as our abilities to still reach our full potential. And tomorrow, may we have renewed aspirations in greeting each other a Happy Independence Day. 🇵🇭


Read the UNCHR here: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/PH/Philippines-HRC44-AEV.pdf

Tagalog summary: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/PH/Philippines-HRC44_TagalogVersion.pdf

What is the viability of a ‘Philippine Broadcasting Corporation’?

There has been suggestions and speculations on what could potentially fill ABS-CBN’s national television and radio frequencies, after it was ordered to cease operations on the 5th of May 2020. One of them is the creation of a publicly owned broadcaster comparable to that of the United Kingdom’s BBC.

First off, there shouldn’t be a void in the Philippine media industry right now in the first place. The fact the the biggest broadcaster in the country was shut down through the exploitation of political pressures and influences should not be tolerated nor accepted; if anything, defiance should be our response. I’ve already articulated my thoughts and feelings about this in this post: #DefendPressFreedom

To shut down one of the major broadcasters in the country is to suppress its press freedom. 

The media speaks truth to power and challenges complacency in our government and institutions. In essence, it makes sure that power is never without responsibility. 

The law is being weaponised to shut down criticisms; political capital is being exploited to stop people from pointing out injustices and uncomfortable facts. This is state power bearing down not only on what it deems unsympathetic journalism but also on freedom of expression. This is democratic deficit in action.

Continue reading “What is the viability of a ‘Philippine Broadcasting Corporation’?”

#DefendPressFreedom

Freedom of speech should be universal. It allows for significant participants in the political and social dialogue to dare to tackle important or even controversial issues. And, journalists and media institutions have in their possession the skills and capabilities to draw stark and sometimes even explicit images that really strikes the core and truth of issues and problems. Stories matter and a wide range of perspectives is critical in educating and empowering the masses. The media can encourage debates and public pressures; it brings consciousness and makes it available to everyone.

To shut down one of the major broadcasters in the country is to suppress its press freedom.

The media speaks truth to power and challenges complacency in our government and institutions. In essence, it makes sure that power is never without responsibility.

The law is being weaponised to shut down criticisms; political capital is being exploited to stop people from pointing out injustices and uncomfortable facts. This is state power bearing down not only on what it deems unsympathetic journalism but also on freedom of expression. This is democratic deficit in action.

Have no mistake, this does not only curtail the ability of journalists and other media practitioners in trying to define and describe what is happening in our world; this is also going to disenfranchised a significant number of Filipino citizens in the process.

In this dark time, I hope the nation remains steadfast in its indignation and defiance… because with our very rights and liberties at stake, there is much to be angry about.

#DefendPressFreedom
#NoToABSCBNShutdown