ROUGH CUTS| Calm before a storm?

THE MEDIA community of the whole Philippines is grieving these days with the demise of one of the pillars of press freedom, the late Philippine Daily Inquirer Editor-in-Chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc.

     The woman who has been on top of the Inquirer editorial staff since the newspaper’s founding succumb to cardiac arrest on Christmas eve, according to reports carried by all national broadsheets.

     Reading from the accounts of her written by the newspaper’s staff members and contributing writers, we can only imagine how much the “iron lady” of journalism was loved and respected by the men and women working with her.

     There is no doubt that the Inquirer under Magsanoc is indeed the epitome of its motto as carrier of “Balanced News, Fearless Views.” So what bears watching is how the national broadsheet will evolve under a new editor-in-chief. Will it become a little tempered newspaper? Or, will it turn into an even more journalistically “ruthless” that crooks in government and the scheming private business groups would end up cowering in fear if their illegal deeds are reported by the broadsheet?

     We hope to find this out pretty much sooner than later.


     How nice it is to have the Christmas season. At least for the duration of the holidays we stop hearing or reading political badmouthing. The broadcast and television air lanes and the newspaper pages are almost immaculate clean of the language commonly used in political campaigning. In other words, the Christmas season has given us a break from the profanities and half-truths that are prevalent during election time.

     However, we are a bit apprehensive that as soon as the holidays are over the political exchanges could even be more vicious. So, we fear that the lull prevailing in almost the whole month of December could just be the commonly referred to adage as the “calm before a storm.”

     This “calm” may just be the most opportune time for politicians and their strategists to dig more dirt of candidates, or accumulate real or made-up issues to dirty the candidates prior to the official start of the campaign especially for candidates of national positions.

     As they say in basketball, the best defense is offense. So, we are expecting that those who are running for President and Vice President will be in full throttle as soon as the Christmas season makes its exit.


     We agree that education really works insofar as dealing with the lumads’ coming to Davao City’s downtown areas during the holidays. And we mean how education or guiding the lumads on the ways of “exploring” the urban jungle where they have to deal with people of diverse characteristics and mindsets; where they have to do the “patentero game” with the thousands of vehicles plying the city streets daily; where they have to be confronted with possible health hazards due to congested shelters they are being housed.

     And so the success in educating the lumads of such hazards and how these should be dealt with is measured with the zero death count of those who descended the city proper?

     Yes, we agree with that measure. But we owe it to the people in such offices of the local government as the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO), the City Health Office (CHO) in particular, and of the entire city government administration in general for showing such degree of concern for our lumad brothers while they are here in the woods of cement and asphalt. Without the CSSDO and the CHO closely monitoring the movement and the situation of the lumads in their shelters mostly the district covered courts, many could have lost their lives either due to road accidents or illness. We also owe it to the admonition of the local government executives to the lowlanders to treat the lumads with respect while dealing with them.

     To us, however, there is no substitute to reversing the process. And we mean that instead of letting the tradition continue with the lumads coming down to the city proper to beg for Christmas gifts, why not the lowlanders through the initiative of the local government go up to the mountains and deliver the very goods that they are asking from the people in the urban areas during the holiday season?

     For is not this particular scheme the actual scenario during the very first Christmas when Jesus was born? Did not the three wise men come from different places to find where the Savior was born to give their gifts to the Son of God?

     So, why cannot the people in the lowlands act as the wise men, go to the upland communities bearing gifts and give these to the lumads?

     And as we have recommended earlier, the local government can very well lead the initiative. All it has to do is to look at the model adopted in the Task Force-Davao’s annual “Pinaskuhan Para sa Lumad” Project.


Posted in Opinion