Mindanao Times » Guest Editor http://mindanaotimes.net Tue, 25 Sep 2018 01:04:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 Guest Editorial | Reclaiming the value of journalism http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-reclaiming-the-value-of-journalism/ http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-reclaiming-the-value-of-journalism/#comments Wed, 23 May 2018 13:09:31 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=58050 Read more ›]]> This year marks the 54th anniversary of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), also known as the national association of newspapers.

This milestone serves as a testament to the enduring two-pronged vision of PPI: 1) To defend press freedom (the significance of which nowadays cannot be stressed enough); and 2) to promote ethical standards within the ranks of its member-publications.

“It is a feat that is both humbling and challenging, especially when we consider that this is happening at a time when our nation has been marred by crass partisanship and a maelstrom of populist rhetoric, made more intense by digital hyperactivity, the scale of which seems unprecedented,” said Alfonso Pedroche, PPI chairman-president.
As in previous years, PPI is holding its annual National Press Forum on May 24 and 25 in Manila, not only in celebration of its founding but, more importantly, to bring together the members in a once-a-year opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion on an issue that matters to all of the Philippine media. The publishers and editors from the member-newspapers will be joined by guests from the academe, government, embassies, and civil society organizations.
The theme for this year is “Reclaiming the Value of Journalism: In an Era When Clickbait Is King,” around which the PPI aims to have a discussion that, among others, will highlight how the media, the community press included, could reclaim and assert its role in today’s public agora, while upholding news as a public good instead of peddling it as a commodity in an atmosphere severely polluted by misinformation, malinformation, and disinfomation — telltale marks of today’s information disorder.
“We need not belabor the fact that the media is in deep crisis in today’s digital ecosystem. Among others, it is battling growing public distrust, declining revenue that severely impacts its capacity to pursue good journalism, and the commodification of news that is anathema to serious journalism,” said PPI training director Tess Bacalla.
Confounding these issues is the growing specter of threats to press freedom in a country that was once dubbed a bastion of a free and vibrant, albeit rowdy, press. Add to these troubling realities. She said, are the rise of an information disorder, where fact and falsehood are constantly at odds, or, worse, at times indistinguishable from the other.

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GUEST EDITORIAL| His legacy lives on http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-his-legacy-lives-on/ http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-his-legacy-lives-on/#comments Wed, 10 Jan 2018 01:52:25 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=52572 ]]> THE BOARD of trustees, members, and secretariat of the Philippine Press Institute are saddened by the passing of media icon and seasoned newspaper man, Amado ‘Jake’ P. Macasaet who was a long-time chairman-president of the PPI from 1996 to 2012. He represented Malaya in the board as publisher. He was conferred chairman emeritus in 2013, the first and only recognition bestowed by the institute to a former chairman.

“He is a great loss to the industry and will be missed for sure,” noted Al Pedroche, PPI’s current chairman. Sir Jake was instrumental in making sure that the 54-year old organization sticks to its mandate and “not be used by anyone or any politician or organization”.

Ariel Sebellino, PPI executive director, remembers Sir Jake as straightforward. “He doesn’t like so much or many frills in our events. When I introduced some, he would say, ‘Anong kaartehan na naman ‘yan, Ariel. Pero maganda naman.‘ These are just some of his unforgettable lines,” Sebellino reminisced. He worked with him for 16 years preparing reports for him and ‘coaching’ him spiels for his remarks in PPI’s big events.

Allan Mediante, PPI vice-president also recalled his fondness of Sir Jake. “For the first time during his time, we were able to do our board meeting and oathtaking as officers outside Metro Manila. At first we thought, he did not want to fly. But he agreed to hold it in Cagayan de Oro,” Mediante said.

Peace Adviser Jess Dureza mused that during the turnover of chairmanship to him by Sir Jake in 2012, the latter declared, “you’re in good hands.”

PPI staff also had funny moments with him. “Nakakatuwa siya. Malakas lang talaga boses niya pero maalaga. Favorite niya ang ginataang tilapia pag board meeting namin sa office,” Nemy said.

“Sir Jake’s legacy wil live on. I will always remember his reminders to me, usually during pep talks as we puffed together,” Sebellino said.

The Philippine Press Institute condoles with the Macasaets.



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REFLECTIONS| Elijah must first come http://mindanaotimes.net/reflections-elijah-must-first-come/ http://mindanaotimes.net/reflections-elijah-must-first-come/#comments Fri, 15 Dec 2017 16:26:30 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=51721 ]]> MEDITATION: God gives signs to show what he is about to do. John the Baptist is one such sign who pointed to Jesus and prepared the way for his coming. John fulfilled the essential task of all the prophets: to be fingers pointing to Jesus Christ. John is the last and greatest prophet of the old kingdom, the old covenant. The Jews expected that when the Messiah would come, Elijah would appear to announce his presence. John fills the role of Elijah and prepares the way for the coming of Jesus Christ by preaching a baptism of repentance and renewal.

As watchful servants, we, too must prepare for the Lord’s coming again by turning away from sin and from everything that would keep us from pursuing his will. Are you eager to do God’s will and are you prepared to meet the Lord Jesus when he returns in glory?

“Lord Jesus, stir my zeal for your righteousness and for your kingdom. Free me from complacency and from compromising with the ways of sin and worldliness that I may be wholeheartedly devoted to you and to your kingdom.”

Servants of the Word, source: www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

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GUEST EDITORIAL| More than half of HIV population on treatment: UNAIDS http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-more-than-half-of-hiv-population-on-treatment-unaids/ http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-more-than-half-of-hiv-population-on-treatment-unaids/#comments Fri, 01 Dec 2017 01:22:59 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=51200 ]]> GENEVA — Remarkable progress has been made on HIV treatment over the past 15 years, with about 57 percent of all the people worldwide living with HIV currently on treatment, according to UNAIDS’ latest data on Monday.

In 2000, just 685,000 people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy; by June 2017, around 20.9 million people of the 36.7 million globally living with HIV had access to the life-saving medicines, according to the latest UNAIDS report, Right to Health, launched ahead of World AIDS Day.

“This is the kind of acceleration we need to encourage, sustain and replicate,” said UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe.

As the population receiving HIV treatment is on steady rise, scientific research has also shown that a person living with HIV and adhering to an effective regime of antiretroviral therapy is up to 97 percent less likely to transmit HIV.

Meanwhile, treatment on pregnant women living with HIV has rapidly reduced new HIV infections among children, down by 56 percent from 2010 to 2016 in eastern and southern Africa, the region most affected by HIV, and by 47 percent globally.

The challenges now are to ensure that the rest nearly 16 million people in need of treatment, including 919,000 children, can access the medicines, and to put HIV prevention back at the top of public health programs particularly in countries where new HIV infections are rising.

New HIV infections are rising at a rapid pace in countries that have not expanded health and HIV services to the areas and the populations where they are most effective. In eastern Europe and central Asia, for example, new HIV infections have risen by 60 percent since 2010 and AIDS-related deaths by 27 percent.

Increasing funding for health is the key to reduce new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths, the report underscores, as the funding gap for HIV is estimated at 7 billion US dollars by 2020.

It also gives examples of how to enhance funding, such as increasing the share of health spending as a proportion of national economies, making savings through efficiencies and partnering with the private sector.

The Right to Health serves as a clear demonstration of the challenges ahead in efforts to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, as outlined in the 2016 UN Political Declaration on Ending AIDS. (Xinhua)

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Guest Editorial| Invisible People http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-invisible-people/ http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-invisible-people/#comments Thu, 26 Oct 2017 02:31:50 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=49479 ]]> MORE than 1.1 billion people worldwide officially don’t exist — going about their daily lives without proof of identity.

The issue leaves a significant fraction of the global population deprived of health and education services.

Among these “invisible people” — many of whom live primarily in Africa and Asia — more than one third are children susceptible to violence whose births have not been registered, the World Bank’s “Identification for Development” (ID4D) program recently warned.

The problem is particularly acute in geographical areas whose residents face poverty, discrimination, epidemics or armed conflicts.

Vyjayanti Desai, who manages the ID4D program, said the issue arises from a number of factors, but cited the distance between people and government services in developing areas as major.

For populations near the Peruvian Amazon, for example, traveling to an administrative service can take some five days of transit by boat, according to Carolina Trivelli, Peru’s former development minister.

Many families are also simply not informed about the importance of birth registration — and the consequences of non-registration, which can include the denial of basic rights and benefits, or an increased likelihood of marrying or entering into the labor force underage.

And even if parents are aware of the need to declare a birth, costs can be crippling, said Anne-Sophie Lois, representative at the United Nations in Geneva and director of the children’s aid organization Plan International.

As a result, millions of children in Africa and Asia first encounter the administration only once they reach school age. But “birth certificates are often needed to enroll in school” or take national exams, Lois said.

Beyond being barred from attending school, these children can fall prey to violence ranging from forced labor for boys to early marriage for girls, denounced by UNICEF in a 2013 report.

These children can also fall victim to human trafficking. “The legal invisibility of unregistered children makes it more likely that their disappearance and exploitation will go unnoticed by authorities,” Lois said. By Agence France Presse

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GUEST EDITORIAL| Transportation and Roads http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-transportation-and-roads/ http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-transportation-and-roads/#comments Sat, 21 Oct 2017 03:13:37 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=49197 ]]> MOHENJO Daro was an ancient metropolis in what is now Sind Province in Pakistan, located in what is known as the Indus Valley. If Mohenjo Daro existed today, this ancient metropolis would have been more than 5,000 years old. Venice is an old city, that has been around for 1,600 years. This water borne city has been continuously occupied, and has managed to sustain itself even if the city does not have a single paved Highway.

Both settlements serve as objective lessons on how the movement of people and goods need to be properly addressed. Mohenjo Daro as a lesson on – the failure of traffic management, and Venice on – successful transport infrastructure planning and management.

Cities in the Philippines are very much not like Mohenjo Daro or even close to Venice. Philippine cities are established on – LAND, and roads can be widened or even elevated. Yet Filipinos living in Philippine cities spend more 3 to 4 hours every weekday traveling on the road between house and workplace or school. If each person needs eight hours of adequate sleep, and 4 hours to prepare for the day and then unwind in the evening, three hours of time on the road is such a waste. The cost of traveling is another concern. Each person spends at least P20 each day to pay for a trip. Since the average Filipino Family size is five, a minimum of P100 is spent by every family. The lowest possible wage for a working age Filipino is P280.

The cost of travel already eats up more than 15% of a family’s budget. A salary increase would most likely mean that a family has to relocate to a place that pays a higher wage, but the cost of travel also increases. Whatever is gained by an increase in the family income, gets lost to the cost of travel. Travel cost directly affects every Filipino family’s quality of life and capacity to choose what is best for the family.

These figures are based on reality. The economic impact of the travel cost between the home and the workplace or school is hidden and never discussed. What is NOT discussed or talked about gets forgotten in development planning.

Venice does not have roads, yet transportation services are well managed. Filipinos living in the city can choose to move out, and stay in places that are less congested. Then after a while, the new place gets congested. We cannot let this become a repeated reaction to city congestion.

There is an imperative need to properly manage transportation and roads in Philippine cities. Transportation planning HAS TO BE done properly, or Phlippine cities suffer the fate of Mohenjo Daro.

(By: EnP Patrick Jerome S. Guasa, PIEP)

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GUEST EDITORIAL| Addressing massive hunger http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-addressing-massive-hunger/ http://mindanaotimes.net/guest-editorial-addressing-massive-hunger/#comments Fri, 13 Oct 2017 15:16:26 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=48903 ]]>  WORLD Food Day, October 16, 2017, is the international day of action that tackles issues pertaining to global hunger and malnutrition. The primary focus of World Food Day is the fundamental concept of food and adequate nutrition as a basic human right.

The Council for Health and Development (CHD), the national secretariat of more than 70 community-based health programs in the Philippines, asserts that food and proper nutrition are inviolable and an integral part of basic human rights that everyone, regardless of social and economic status, is entitled to.

Due to extreme poverty and low income levels, especially among peasants in the countryside which comprise the bulk of the population, 2.2 million Filipino families are currently suffering from food scarcity and malnutrition in the latest SWS survey. Food security among the poor peasants in the countryside is perpetually weakened, due to restrictive trade policies, low farm productivity and income.

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (2016), malnutrition prevalence in the country is ever worsening. Stunting rates were 30.3% and 33.4% in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Chronic malnutrition among children ages 0-2 years old is at 26.2% — the highest it has been in over a decade.

A recent survey conducted by Ibon Foundation (2016) found that over 70% of Filipinos consider themselves as poor. The diet of most urban poor Filipinos consists of instant noodles, dried fish, and copious amounts of white rice. The rural population’s diet is comprised of cornmeal and local agricultural produce; the peasants in the countryside rarely eat meat.

According to Dr. Eleanor A. Jara, Executive Director of the Council for Health and Development, “the small and disenfranchised farmers have barely enough to feed themselves and their families. If the farmers themselves, the producers of food for the national population, have nothing to eat, then it is no surprise that the country is suffering from a nation-wide food and malnutrition crisis.”

Shifting from conservative, traditional, large-scale industrial methods of chemical farming to organic farming managed by small farmer-worker owned farm and market cooperatives will effectively improve the worsening food and malnutrition crisis.

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GUEST EDITORIAL| Life’s choices http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-lifes-choices/ http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-lifes-choices/#comments Sat, 05 Aug 2017 01:33:43 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=46110 ]]> EDUCATION is the key to prevent the cycle of crime because it allows detainees to learn from their mistakes and have a better chance at a life without crime when they are released.

 Every one of us has a place in society. That part cannot be played by anybody else in the world. Being poor and underprivileged or having made wrong choices in life does not really matter. We have all made some bad choices in the past. Life is about choices we make.

If we make good choices, generally they will lead to a good life, and if we make bad choices, those will lead to bad consequences with jails being a clear consequence of bad choices. What matters is that the inmates take advantage of the opportunity available to them to be motivated to obtain an education that will enable them to make the most of their individual gifts.

Education can help students to become nurses, businessmen, bankers, politicians, or priests. Most things may be lost, but an education, once gained, may not be taken away. In addition, it is important to recognize the crucial role of education in contributing to building a culture of peace.  A culture of peace and non-violence goes to the substance of fundamental human rights: social justice, democracy, literacy, respect and dignity for all. Education is a key tool in combating poverty and in promoting peace, social justice, human rights, democracy, cultural diversity, and environmental awareness.

Our life is just like a road full of detours, corners, crossroads, crooked or straight paths, and smooth or rocky ways; sometimes we do not know which road to choose or to take, and sometimes even we do not know where a road will lead us until we take it. That is one of the facts about our life.

We have the choice between being a lost traveller or an accidental tourist in life or even a sojourner with purpose. Trusting someone completely does not always guarantee that the person will not betray you; loving someone with all your heart does not mean that person will love you in return.

Sometimes we do not have power over the situation. The only things we have power over are the decisions we make and how we will react to difference situations. If we learn from our mistakes, they are no longer mistakes, but rather they become successes, because they help us not to make the same mistake again.

We are in part products of our environment. Whatever mistakes or wrong decisions we make, we should always learn from them and remember that we always have the chance to make better choices in the future because good choices usually lead to a good life. (By Dr. Aland Mizell, SEBTI president)

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EDITORIAL| On freeze http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-on-freeze/ http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-on-freeze/#comments Fri, 21 Jul 2017 04:10:23 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=45509 ]]> PEACE Adviser Jesus Dureza issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying that back channel talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF will be cancelled due to “recent developments involving attacks done by the NPAs.”

This came in the heels of the clash in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato, with members of the Presidential Security Group Wednesday morning, July 19, who were on their way to Cagayan de Oro City. Some  50 New People’s Army rebels  clashed with soldiers which wounded  five PSG personnel  and killed one government militia. A  Criminal Investigation and Detection Group agent was also abducted.

The backchannel talks which was scheduled sometime in the week in Europe will no longer push through as Dureza said the “situation on the ground necessary to provide the desired enabling environment for the conduct of peace negotiations are still not present up to this time.”

The fifth round of the formal talks was cancelled last May after the government peace panel demurred due to “lack of conducive environment” for the negotiations. Reports of continued clashes in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country continued. Government was insistent on a ceasefire before resuming the talks.

The backchannel talks Peace Adviser Dureza was referring to was supposed to happen on July 21 to 23 to tackle how they will resume the peacetalks.  Close to a year after a very optimistic start of the peace talks, we are again facing another roadblock to the peace process.

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EDITORIAL| Ingenuity http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-ingenuity/ http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-ingenuity/#comments Mon, 17 Jul 2017 19:16:09 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=45362 ]]> DAYS after the start of the implementation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, a viral picture of a woman holding signboards of her destinations went viral in social media as the law prohibits public utility vehicles from displaying their signboards in the supposed line of sight.

Then another picture also went viral: a jeepney displayed its signboard in front of the vehicle without impeding the line of sight.

Although both pictures may be fruits of frustrations – who would know whether these were designed to mock the law – both also depicted how one can innovate to fight his or her frustration or, at least, deal with it in a better and easier way without burdening himself or herself.

The good thing is that those who are getting affected by the law, although not of their making, have taken in stride its impact even when some of its provisions are outright stupid, to say the least. This is unlike some of those who crafted the law –as well as those who created the guidelines – who want the people to suffer by confusing them.

Of course, stupidity is the likely opposite ingenuity.  One must remember that law enforcers had to rethink of its implementing rules and regulations because they would not become effective in implementing it. Even with a longer time in revising the rules, the result was still lazed with stupid provisions.

To conclude that it would have been better for the hoi polloi to craft the law rather than allowing the country’s highest legislature to do it, is an understatement. Some members of Congress, with due respect to those who are worth their positions, are elected because of their surnames, not because of their knowledge in crafting the laws. Otherwise, the country would not have laws that become irrelevant even for shortest periods.

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