PTFoMS backs OSG move to appeal CA ruling on Reyes


MANILA -- The head of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) on Thursday said it supported the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in initiating an investigation to find the “stench” with regard to the Court of Appeals’ (CA) decision to release former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes from detention due to insufficiency of evidence in the Ortega murder case.

Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday said the appellate court's decision to clear Reyes of charges for allegedly ordering the murder of radio host and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega “stinks” and that he would conduct an investigation to “find out where the stench came from.”

In a Palace briefing, PTFoMS executive director Usec. Joel Sy Egco said the task force shared the same sentiment.

He pointed out that the OSG was one of the member agencies of PTFoMS, an inter-agency task force created under President Rodrigo Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 1 (AO 1) for the purpose of monitoring all cases of media killings and mobilizing all member agencies in order to attain justice for the family of slain journalists and media workers.

“The PTFoMS will do all within its powers and will perform all legal and appropriate actions and ask our media partners ... for support in order to find out where the stench really came from with regard to the release of former Governor Reyes to the detriment of a slain journalist,” Egco said.

He said the belief that the decision stinks was also shared by the Ortega family and their lawyers during their meeting following the CA decision.

Their belief is rooted on the previous Supreme Court decision upholding the jurisdiction of the lower court in determining probable cause, and that the CA justices who voted for the release of Reyes may be held administratively liable for going against the SC.

"So ito iyong nakikita namin na possible. I’m not saying that this is going to happen. But it depends on the interested parties, in this particular case specifically the family. Kung gusto nilang mag-pursue, may interes sila sa kaso. They may do so. But we are of that belief," Egco said.

In the meantime, the Palace official said the CA decision is an “unwelcome development,” calling it “a nightmare from where we all should wake up.”

“It sets a bad precedent to cases of similar nature. It sends a chilling effect not only to the families of victims but even to us, to those at the frontline against the problem of media killings,” he said.

“Natatakot ako dito, ako personally. We are on the frontline of the fight against media worker killings. Napakahirap maghanap ng witness, ang hirap mag-file ng kaso, ang hirap magpahuli ng suspect, ang hirap mag-monitor ng kaso sa Korte, ang daming kung anu-ano. And then sa isang iglap biglang mawawala. What about the other more than 100 cases that we’re handling? So that’s my, kumbaga iyong primal fear,” Egco said.

As such, the head of the task force on media security said that he had already prepared a formal request for Calida to take charge and find way to effectively reverse the CA decision.

“We give our full trust and confidence to the office of the Solicitor General to effectively seek a reversal of this nightmare… of this, according to (Presidential Spokesperson) Secretary (Harry) Roque in the past few days, which is a travesty of justice,” he said.

“Hindi lang ano, kailangan ma-reverse ito. Because as I said, for me this is a nightmare and kailangan pagtulung-tulungan natin ito otherwise natatakot ako na bumagsak iyong ibang mga ganitong klase ng kaso. Hindi magandang example,” Egco said. (PNA)

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UP to hold the 5th National Communication Research Conference


The Department of Communication Research of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) is holding the 5th National Communication Research Conference in Baguio City on 22 to 25 November 2017. This year’s theme is “Filipino Communicative Experience,” in time for the country’s 120th Year of Independence next year.

Over 600 communication and media students, faculty members, and professionals are expected to participate in the two-day main conference on 23 and 24 November 2017 where seven plenary speakers, ten competition papers, and 66 parallel session papers will be presented at the University of Cordilleras Main Campus (UCMC). Two parallel pre-conference workshops on research reporting will be held on 22 November at the UCMC and two post-conference workshops on research design will be held simultaneously on 25 November at the University of the Philippines Baguio (for students) and at the University of Baguio (for graduate students and faculty members).

Hon. Mark O. Go, Representative of the Lone District of Baguio City, will give the Opening Keynote Remarks. Professor Maria Cecilia Gastardo-Conaco, PhD, 2017 Gawad Tsanselor para sa Natatanging Guro awardee of UP Diliman, will talk about Filipino values and social media during her keynote marks at the Closing Ceremony.

Interested parties can contact the NCRC2017 Secretariat at or visit for information about the conference.

The onsite non-refundable registration fee is P500. It covers the conference kit which includes the Book of Abstracts, a conference ID, the certificate of attendance, a pen, and a small notebook.

The NCRC is being staged together with the College of Arts and Communication of the University of the Philippines Baguio, the University of the Cordilleras, and the Philippines Communication Society. The Philippine Press Institute is NCRC’s press partner.

Now on its fifth year, the NCRC is the geographical expansion of the Communication Research Student Conference, first held in 2008. It is the first time that NCRC is being held outside the UP Diliman campus.

The NCRC is endorsed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and its organizer, the Department of Communication Research is a CHED Center of Excellence in Communication. It has received a Quill Award on Communication Training and Education from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).


For more information contact:
Contact Person
Fernando Paragas, PhD, Program & Publicity Team Head
National Communication Research Conference 2017
Phone 981-8500 loc 2671
(PPI as official media partner)

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'FAKE NEWS IS NOT NEWS." The officers of the Negros Press Club (NPC) were among the 300 participants who led the signing of the covenant against disinformation and misinformation in the seminar on 'Let's Get Real on Fake News' at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNOR) in Bacolod City. This is the second to the last of the scholastic series organized by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) with support from Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) in collaboration with the local press club. The final leg will be in Dumaguete City.
Photos by PPI's Kier Labrador

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2 Asian Communication Icons Win AMIC Awards

PPI Home Photo Gallery-15

Two Asian communication icons—a theorist and a practitioner—will be given one of the highest honors in the field of communication in Asia by the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) on Sept. 27 at Miriam College, Quezon City.

Shelton Dhavalasri Gunaratne, a former Sri Lankan journalist who is now professor emeritus of Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), will receive the AMIC Asia Communication Award for 2016 in recognition of his “ground-breaking scholarship and intellectual contribution to Asian media and communication research.”


Wijayananda Jayaweera, a Sri Lankan broadcaster who spent a lifetime developing broadcasting in Asia up to the end of his distinguished career as UNESCO Director of Communication and the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), will be given the AMIC Asia Communication Award for 2017 in the field of institution Jayaweera


The awards will be handed out at the 25th AMIC Annual International Conference Sept. 27-29 at Miriam College, Quezon City. Over 400 foreign and local communication scholars, educators, researchers, practitioners and students have registered for the conference.

About the Conference

This is the first time the annual conference is being held in the Philippines since AMIC’s transfer from Singapore to the Philippines in 2015.

Themed “Rethinking Communication in a Resurgent Asia," the conference includes sessions on Asian Communication Paradigms and Theories; Asian Philosophy, Religion, and Communication; Freedom of Expression in a Post-Truth Era; Communication and Culture; Communication Education and Training; Political Communication in Traditional and Online Platforms; Media and Information Literacy; and Children and Gender Issues in Communication.
“The theme forces us to question the seeming dominance of Western philosophies and paradigms in communication media in the Asia-Pacific. The event hopes to provide a platform for reasserting the pioneering contributions of Asians in communication as well as examine the impact of Asian philosophies and religions on communication paradigms, strategies, and practices, said Crispin C. Maslog, AMIC Board of Directors Chairperson.

Some “legends” and experts in communication and journalism education in Asia Pacific have confirmed their participation. Among them are John Lent, Shelton Gunaratne, Ronny Adhikarya, Ang Peng Hwa, Cherian George, Arun Mahizhnan, and Peixin Cao. They will be joined by Filipino communication scholars including AMIC Chairperson Crispin C. Maslog and Florangel Rosario-Braid.

About Gunaratne, communication theorist, 2016 Awardee

Shelton Gunaratne started his distinguished career as a journalist in Sri Lanka and went on to conquer new journalistic worlds in Malaysia, Australia and the United States. Go West, young man, he was told. He did, like many other Asian communication scholars of his generation, and eventually became the first Sri Lankan to receive a doctorate in mass communication from the United States in 1972.

He did come back to his roots briefly, to conduct pioneering research for his doctoral dissertation at the University of Minnesota, by studying the role of communication in rural development in Sri Lanka. The results were published by AMIC as one of its first research monographs in 1976.

He then switched to academe as a journalism educator for the next decade in Malaysia and then Australia. From there he went to the United States to teach at the Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) from where he retired as professor emeritus in 2007. All throughout his teaching career in the West, he continued his love affair with Asian journalism and communication.

After 2000, Gunaratne focused his academic energies on globalizing communication/journalism studies with his attempt to merge Eastern philosophies—particularly Buddhist and Daoist phenomenology–in his seminal book, TheDao of the Press, published in 2005.

Gunaratne argues in this book that the classic Four Theories of the Press, articulated by Fred Siebert, Theodore Peterson and Wilbur Schramm since 1956, and which had become standard textbook in communication and society courses in Asia as in the rest of the Western world since then, was based on Eurocentric history, theory and practice.

Gunaratne said he wrote the Dao of the Press as an attempt to de-Westernize communication theory. This new book interprets press theory from the perspective of Eastern philosophy—particularly Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism and Confucianism. Gunaratne proposes “a more humano-centric theoretical framework that reflects the marriage of Eastern ontology with Western epistemology.”

Dr Gunaratne’s development of a humano-centric theory of press freedom presumes a world system that reflects the characteristics of a yin-yang (libertarian-authoritarian) spiral-shaped continuum. Therefore, he argues, communication theory must concede the Daoist notion of diversity within unity (varying degrees of freedom in different countries) because it describes the reality of nature.

About Jayaweera, institution builder, 2017 Awardee

In his career of about 50 years in the communication media sector—starting as a production assistant in 1969 at Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation up to his distinguished career as UNESCO Director of Communication and the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC)—Wijayananda Jayaweera has either initiated or introduced “revolutionary” programs that are redefining communication policies, standards, and programs.

The Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) 2017 Asia Communication Award recognizes Wijayananda Jayaweera for being an innovator in media development.

Jayaweera’s initial major contribution to media development was the establishment in 1984 of Mahaweli Community Radio, a pioneering Asian community radio project. This facilitated the relocation of nearly 60,000 families under one of the most ambitious resettlement projects implemented by the Government of Sri Lanka. Throughout his career, he has played various significant roles in institutionalizing community radio in many other countries including Bhutan, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. These initiatives were under the aegis of UNESCO and the Asia-Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (AIBD), among others.

As an institution builder, Jayaweera led the reform process for the Paris-based International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), successfully reinvigorating it with renewed donor confidence as the main multilateral instrument to support the development of free, independent, and pluralistic media in the developing countries.

He was also instrumental in bringing safety of journalists and the issue of impunity to the Intergovernmental Council of the Press in Developing Countries (IPDC), and in making the Council a global oversight body on the issue by obliging UNESCO member-states to report on the judicial follow up of the killing of journalists in their respective territories.

During his tenure as Director, he led the crafting and introduction of Media Development Indicators, now regarded as the only set of internationally approved indicators to determine media development needs. It was also under his directorship that UNESCO set the standards for journalism education with UNESCO’s Model Journalism Curricula and criteria for instructional excellence applicable to media training institutions.

Among his other significant initiatives is Media and Information Literacy (MIL), now a major pillar of UNESCO Media Development Programmes. In this age of post-truth, hate speech, and fake news, MIL has evolved as a potent tool in empowering media users to be discerning media consumers and responsible and ethical content producers.

AMIC also acknowledges the strong partnership forged between AMIC and UNESCO during his incumbency as Regional Communication Adviser for Asia and, later, as Director of the UNESCO Communication Development Division and IPDC.

After his retirement from UNESCO in 2011, Jayaweera has remained passionate and active in promoting an enabling environment for free, independent, and pluralistic media in the Asia-Pacific and throughout the world as adviser in several communication programmes and projects.

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Statement on National Day of Protest


Today, as declared National Day of Protest, is a grim reminder of the horrors of Martial Law.

Those harrowing years of abuses and violence inflicted on civilians, activists, and media would go down in history as one of our nation's worst periods.

How these have shaped our quest for democracy and freedom - and their restoration - are narratives worth telling and re-telling today and for generations to come.

While #NeverAgain is a mantra and a verbal protest through the years, we enjoin the public in keeping our democratic instutions in check by speaking to power if and when necessary and calling out abuses.


Photo Credit: Reuters

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PPI Board in Kapihan, re-affirms ‘no to fake news’


Coming at the heels of its scholastic press seminar-series on "Let's Get Real on Fake News", the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) sat in the panel at Tapatan sa Aristocrat, a regular Monday Kapihan organized by seasoned journalist Melo Acuna. PPI chairman-president Alfonso Gomez Pedrochejoined other panelists Prof. Danilo Arao of the University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Mass Communication, Ellen Tordesillas of Vera Files, and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar in the forum on "Fake News, Media Trends and Media Ownership" moderated by Acuna and Sky Ortigas.

The PPI is exploring a 'partnership' with Acuna for some topics it can recommend for his Kapihan.

The scholastic press program is being supported by Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC). The last two remaining legs this year will be held in the cities of Bacolod and Dumaguete.

This was followed by the PPI Board's regular meeting. Discussed were the organization's training programs and partnerships.

(Photos by Ariel C. Sebellino)


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No to Fake News


NO TO FAKE NEWS. Criminology students do the thumb-down sign at the scholastic outreach program on "Let's Get Real on Fake News" at the Andres Bonifacio College in Dipolog City. They were among the 240 participants from 6 schools who attended the seminar organized by the Philippine Press Institite (PPI) with support from Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC). The final legs will be held in Bacolod and Dumaguete. (Photos by Kier Labrador of PPI)


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Ten conservation advocates receive 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes were recognized in an award ceremony in Manila, Philippines. (left to right) H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community; ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Executive Director Roberto V. Oliva; Mr. Eyad Samhan (Brunei Darussalam); Mr. Sophea Chhin (Cambodia); Mr. Alex Waisimon (Indonesia); Mr. Nitsavanh Louangkhot Pravongviengkham (Lao PDR); Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid (Malaysia); Dr. Maung Maung Kyi (Myanmar); Dr. Angel Alcala (Philippines); Prof. Leo Tan Wee Hin (Singapore); Dr. Nonn Panitvong (Thailand); and Prof. Dang Huy Huynh (Viet Nam).
The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes were recognized in an award ceremony in Manila, Philippines. (left to right) H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community; ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Executive Director Roberto V. Oliva; Mr. Eyad Samhan (Brunei Darussalam); Mr. Sophea Chhin (Cambodia); Mr. Alex Waisimon (Indonesia); Mr. Nitsavanh Louangkhot Pravongviengkham (Lao PDR); Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid (Malaysia); Dr. Maung Maung Kyi (Myanmar); Dr. Angel Alcala (Philippines); Prof. Leo Tan Wee Hin (Singapore); Dr. Nonn Panitvong (Thailand); and Prof. Dang Huy Huynh (Viet Nam).

Ten biodiversity conservation advocates representing the grassroots, government, academic, and business sectors received the 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award at a ceremony held in Manila, Philippines on 07 August 2017. The inaugural award forms part of the celebration of ASEAN’s Golden Anniversary.

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes is a program designed to recognize outstanding individuals from the ASEAN region who have contributed significantly to biodiversity conservation and advocacy efforts in their respective countries.

From an indigenous community leader who is protecting Papua’s forest to a national scientist who is championing coastal resources management, the inaugural ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes honors inspirational and valiant individuals who have risen to the challenge of helping curb biodiversity loss. Each of the heroes, in their own different ways, have made significant impact on biodiversity conservation in their respective communities, countries, and the region.

The 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes are:

1. Mr. Eyad Samhan, Former Field Supervisor, Tasek Merimbun, Brunei Darussalam
For significant contributions to research on fauna and flora in Brunei and in the region

2. Mr. Sophea Chhin, Government Official, Department of Biodiversity, Cambodia
For sparking interest in wildlife research among Cambodians

3. Mr. Alex Waisimon, Conservation worker, Indonesia
For protecting Papua’s forests for future generations

4. Mr. Nitsavanh Louangkhot Pravongviengkham, President, Union Development Agricole Import-Export Public Company (UDA Farm), Lao PDR
For promoting environment-friendly agricultural production and protecting migratory species

5. Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Malaysia
For making a lasting impact on analysis and assessment of global biodiversity and ecosystem services

6. Dr. Maung Maung Kyi, Chairman, Rakhine Coastal Region Conservation Association, Myanmar
For effectively promoting community participation to conserve various habitats

7. Dr. Angel C. Alcala, Professor Emeritus, Silliman University, National Scientist, Philippines
For championing coastal resource management and terrestrial biodiversity conservation

8. Prof. Leo Tan Wee Hin, Professorial Fellow and Director (Special Projects), Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore
For championing biodiversity outreach and education

9. Dr. Nonn Panitvong, Founder and Webmaster of Thailand Biodiversity Conservation Group, Director, NakornPhet Sugar Limited and other companies
For raising public awareness of biodiversity through taxonomy

10. Prof. Dang Huy Huynh, Vice Chair, Viet Nam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment
For fostering the exchange of knowledge and solutions to conserve Viet Nam’s biodiversity

“At the heart of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint 2025 is the commitment to lift the quality of life of its peoples through cooperative activities that are people oriented, people-centered, environmentally friendly, and geared towards the promotion of sustainable development. Today is a celebration – where we rejoice the achievement and recognition of these ten remarkable individuals. It is also a celebration for the peoples of ASEAN. The Heroes will bring to the peoples of ASEAN a better understanding, awareness and appreciation of the diverse values of biodiversity and underpin the willingness of individuals to make real changes and actions that will bring about a more sustainable future for all of us,” said H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Executive Director Roberto V. Oliva said, “We are honoring 10 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes who have dedicated their lives for the cause of biodiversity conservation. Under great sacrifice to themselves and their families, they have shown tenacity, perseverance and focus to protect our web of life. Our heroes have shown us clearly what love for self, what love for children and grandchildren and what love for one’s country is. It is embracing the cause of biodiversity conservation. ASEAN biodiversity which is the region’s life support system is still rich because of you,” he said. The ACB serves as awards secretariat.

Representing Secretary Roy Cimatu of the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Undersecretary Jonas Leones said the search for the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes holds a special significance for the Philippines and the entire ASEAN region. “Without biodiversity, there will be no life, for biodiversity is life in itself. Without biodiversity in its myriad forms and inter-interdependence, we will not survive and prosper. Biodiversity feeds us, sustains healthy living, maintains a healthy and productive environment, helps nations develop and grow economically, promotes human development and well-being, and provides recreational facilities. In short, biodiversity is with us and around us, every moment, and in every breath we take,” he said.

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes is supported by the ASEAN Secretariat; the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs; the European Union through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) project; and HARI Foundation, Inc. (HFI), the corporate social responsibility arm of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI).

Mr. Michael Bucki, EU Climate Change and Environment Counsellor to the ASEAN, expressed pride in supporting the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) project. “We need a global vision and a political will at the highest level to halt biodiversity loss and I have no doubt that the ASEAN – EU partnership can reinforce that vision towards a common objective and interest. We also need biodiversity champions who are making outstanding efforts, always acting beyond their personal interest and often taking personal risks. They make a significant difference in our day to day life and more importantly they lead by example in order that each and every one can contribute ‘to make the planet great again’.”

Each ASEAN Biodiversity Hero received a cash prize worth USD 5,000, a special Heroes medal and trophy.

Apart from receiving the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Award, the 10 heroes also received the Hyundai Icon for Biodiversity Award, a special prize from HARI Foundation, Inc. (HFI). “HFI opens a new leg in our journey of working and caring for Man and Planet as the Philippine automotive industry’s champion for biodiversity. We have covered substantial ground in our advocacy for education in environmental stewardship, but we know we can still do more to heed Mother Nature's desperate call for help. Partnering with the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity is an important step towards expanding the scope and scale of our advocacy for social and environmental sustainability. I warmly congratulate this year’s ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes. With you in the spotlight as models for everyone to emulate, we can do more in broadening the awareness about biodiversity and in creating actionable measures toward its conservation,” Ms. Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, president of HFI, said.

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes were selected by the ASEAN Member States. The nominating agencies considered the relevance of the nominees’ contributions to biodiversity conservation, the impact of these contributions to biodiversity conservation efforts in their respective countries and the region, the replicability of their actions, and the recognition they received in communities where they belong.

The heroes from the 10 ASEAN Member States will be known as the faces of biodiversity conservation in the ASEAN region. They will be invited to speak in forums, workshops, press conferences, and other relevant events to share their experiences in conserving biodiversity with the aim of inspiring others to do the same.

To know more about the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes, log on to For questions, send an e-mail to

Notes to Editors:
For individual feature stories and photos of the 10 ASEAN Biodiversity Awardees, please visit:

Photo Credits: She Aguiba

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Let’s heal wounds of conflict — Dureza


ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza on Monday urged stakeholders to work on relationship building and healing the wounds and divisions brought about by armed conflict.

“I always say this before, and even now, I can build easily the [physical] structures destroyed by the [armed] conflict. I can also build the school buildings that were burned down. But building of the relationships, bringing back social cohesion, and mending the torn social fabric brought about the conflict takes time. The healing takes time,” Dureza said in his speech during the celebration of the country’s 119th Independence Day.

Dureza was in this city on Monday to represent President Rodrigo Duterte for the nationwide commemoration. He, along with Mayor Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar, hoisted the Philippine flag and laying of the wreaths at the iconic Plaza Rizal, fronting the City Hall.

Dureza emphasized the very important process of healing amid the crisis in Marawi and the continuing recovery of Zamboanga City following the 2013's siege.

“I see here in Zamboanga, the healing process has already started. And we can see the results. This is principally due to the leadership of Mayor Beng and the city officials in cooperation with the military, police, and members of the different sector, and most especially the civilians,” the presidential adviser said.

He noted that indications show that Zamboanga “is now moving forward. The city is already building torn relationships.”

Dureza emphasized that the healing process is one of the lessons that could help the current conflict besetting in Marawi.

The rehabilitation process “is not only to rebuild damaged physical structures in Marawi, but the most important task, which is not easy to do, is building back broken relationships and healing the wounds.”

“There is a strong need for social healing…and see to it that we don’t have a continuity of this conflict,” he said.

At the same time, Dureza reiterated the need to check “hatred and deep-seated biases” to advance the cause.

“When you say, ‘I’m going to help bring about peace’. I will ask you: are you at peace with yourself? Because if you have anxieties, angsts, and hatred, then you cannot radiate to others what you do not have. And that is the lesson that we should learn. Because you cannot give what you do not have,” he said.

Equally essential is the strong vigilance of the community to deny terror and extremist groups to set foot in their community.

“One vital measure is for the community to pass timely information to the authorities to prevent similar tragedies,” Dureza said, referring to the strong vigilance of the community in thwarting possible attack of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group in Bohol last April

Dureza said healing and rebuilding relationships are among the major thrusts of the Office of the Presidential Peace Adviser (OPAPP), which is tasked to address the underlying causes of the armed conflict in the country.

At present, the OPAPP is working under the six-point peace and development roadmap of the Duterte administration.

The roadmap covers the implementation of the all the peace agreements the government had signed with the Moro fronts and the ongoing peace negations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

In parallel, the peace roadmap also provides the needed socio-economic interventions to conflict-affected areas in the country.

“The road to peace is not paved. There are humps and bumps. What is important is that we all stay the course,” Dureza said.

Dureza encouraged the people of Zamboanga City to share stories and lessons from the siege, starting with those heroes who fought and died during the armed conflict.

“As we celebrate our 119 Independence Day celebration, we remember all our heroes in the past and also our present day heroes,” he added, referring to those security forces who paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring peace in the country. (end)

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Guidelines for Reporting Disasters and Other Emergencies

I believe

That disasters and emergencies are personal tragedies to the victims that no one else can ever comprehend;
That they are a source of grief and concern to the community; and
That they are trauma-filled experience for the reporters.

I believe reporters, shall:
As first responder:
Be aware of their safety and their surroundings upon first arriving at the scene;
Ensure that they are physically, emotionally, psychologically fit; and
Consider the ethical issues involved (being first on the scene and not lifting a hand to help may be regarded by the public as insensitivity; should you? If you can’t, what should you do instead?)

In preparing for the coverage:
Anticipate what might be needed i.e., emergency toolkit, before jump off;
Reporters and photographers should be aware of existing guidelines/laws on covering children, women, and special topics like bird flu and HIV/AIDS, and be sensitive to special concerns;
News organizations should orient their reporters before they are sent to cover emergencies;
Constant communication/tracking between reporters and gatekeepers (let the newsroom know what you’re wearing);

Be sensitive.

During coverage/interview:
Reporters must dress appropriately; in neutral colors;
Unless there is no other choice, never ride a military vehicle;
Should avoid disruption and interference in rescue and disaster response operations

(see above about first responder);
Introduce yourself properly;
Do not pass judgment on your interviewee;
Avoid intruding upon the grief of victims, but if circumstances force you to, then be sensitive;
If someone doesn’t want to talk to you, respect that and just leave a contact number just in case he/she would want to talk later. Never force anyone to talk when they are not ready, not resort to talking to children without getting the permission of their parents or guardians;

Make sure the person understands the terms of your interview. We as outsiders and the media may by just our mere presence, bring undeserved hope that will make the personal tragedy/loss even worse because we are not there for deliverance but to tell the story;
Be sensitive to the customs and culture of the affected community;
Employ as many sources as possible (government, NGO, first-person, etc/multisourcing);

Your emotional reaction, while tempered, should not be ignored. Be human and humane at all times;

Always give respect and dignity to the victims. This means knowing when to back off and stop your questioning and probing;

In a disaster or emergency, the worst sin is to talk too much. Listen, let the people tell their story. Never prod. Line of questioning should not be interrogative; be versatile;

Consult social workers in interviewing victims of disaster especially those who have experienced trauma.

Writing the story:
Always be accurate; use pertinent details to describe the victims, situations, and environment;

Provide context to your story through research and parallel interviews of experts outside the disaster scene;

Remember, your coverage will have an impact on your community. The trauma can become worse by the way     you treat a story and a person;

Do not sensationalize or exaggerate sufferings; should exercise utmost prudence in choice of language;
Editors should prudently exercise their discretionary powers in choosing photographs of the victims taking into  account the risk of unwanted exposure and the harm it may cause to the victims;

For community paper coverage of disasters where families are evacuated:

Inform public where the families are (specific evacuation sites and who the key persons are) and what their situations are for the information of relatives who may not know where to reach the victims;

Write to raise public awareness and mobilize public support;
Photos and graphics should not inflict more trauma on the victims or depict them in an undignified manner.

Reporters welfare:

Reporters should undergo debriefing after covering disasters and have a venue for them to talk it out of their system.
Reporters should be entitled to breaks after covering disasters.


Launched and approved by the PPI members
28th May 2008

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