Responsible Journalism

Responsible Journalism

THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Social Communications (ECSC) headed by its Chairman, Most Rev. Mylo Hubert Vergara, Bishop of Pasig, with Executive Secretary Rev. Fr. Joselito Jopson, in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Davao, held the 4th National Catholic Media Convention (NCMC2018) with the theme “Ako ni, bai! (It is I)”, The Truth Will Set You Free, Fake News & Journalism for Peace.” The convention was held at Mergrande Ocean Resort, Taloma, Davao City.

The convention was a huge success, attended by 141 delegates (53 of whom are clergy), religious, consecrated persons and the laity representing the Social Communications Ministry of their respective archdioceses and dioceses in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Day 1 – The 4-day Convention started with the Holy Eucharist at San Pedro Cathedral presided by Most. Rev. Romulo Valles, CBCP President and Bishop of the Archdiocese of Davao, with concelebrants Auxiliary Bishop of Davao Most Rev. George Rimando, Bishop Vergara and the clergy of Davao. The different ministries and church organizations of the archdiocese welcome the delegates by joining the Holy Mass.

In his homily, Archbishop Valles talked about the three thoughts that should be observed by the journalists: “First is the hearts filled with delight and joy; Second is the hearts mindful of the responsibility to articulate the experience of the mysteries present in every situation; Third is to be filled with confidence and hope.” He said that every bishop is a communicator and that fake news are resorted to by unscrupulous and dishonest individuals and entities to achieve their evil designs and objectives.

Davao City Vice Mayor Bernard Ala-ag, Jr. read the Welcome Address of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. The delegates had dinner at Grand Men Seng Hotel and were entertained with cultural dances and music, where some of them, including Archbishop Valles and Bishop Mylo participated in the cultural dances. They were also treated with mangosteen and rambutan.

Day 2 – Started with the Holy Hour led by Bishop Vergara, followed by the Keynote Address of Archbishop Valles. He stated that social communication must be active in the local church; journalists are the protectors of news; they are the servants of evangelization; nobody can be exempted from the duty of countering falsehoods; fake news is disinformation based on deliberate, evasive and misleading information; journalists need to unmask the perpetrator of fake news; it is not a job but a mission. Social Communications Ministry in the Church promotes among the faithful the capacity to discern; along the way, people develop the skill of discernment. He quoted Pope Francis: “The best antidotes to falsehoods are not strategies, but people: people who are not greedy but ready to listen, people who make the effort to engage in sincere dialogue so that the truth can emerge.

The other talks on Day 2 are Fake News by Fr. Jboy Gonzales,SJ; Data Analytics and Storytelling in Catholic Fund Raising by Mr. Chris Herron; Data Analytics by Ms. Sally Jo Bellosillo; Affirmative Journalism by Atty. Jesus Dureza, read by his  representative. Then, the delegates were divided into 5 groups so they can prepare their 3-minute video news report.

Holy Mass Presider was Most Rev. Edwin dela Peňa,MSP, Bishop of Prelature of Marawi, with Bishop Vergara as concelebrant; followed by socio-cultural night and dinner. The delegates had a taste of Davao exotic fruits durian, marang, mangosteen, watermelon, pineapple, bananas.

Day 3 – Started with the Holy Hour led by Fr. Ronald Lunas, followed by talks on 5 different tracks: Just Trust, 911 – Public Safety and Security by Benito Antonio De Leon; Come and Join, Marginalized People by Eduardo Pacana; We Journey Together, Inter-religious Dialogue by Fr. Pedro Lamata and Ustadz Mahmod Adilao; We Accompany Each Other by Antonio Apat; You are Precious by Fr. Leonardo Dublan,Jr. The groups were shuttled to their respective locations: 911 Action Center, Archdiocesan Nourishment Center, Muslim Mosque and Community, Indigenous People Cultural Village, and Sagop Kinabuhi Program II.

Holy Mass was presided by Most Rev. Medil Aseo, Bishop of Tagum with Bishop Vergara as concelebrant; sumptuous dinner and exotic Davao fruits were served .

Day 4 – Holy Mass presided by Bishop Vergara; group pictorials followed; then presentation of video news reporting by each group. Venue of 2019 Convention is the Archdiocese of Batangas.

 

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Thank God! The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) suspended the full implementation of the HOV scheme or High Occupancy Vehicle for EDSA, supposed to start on August 23. Under  the scheme, “driver-only vehicles” are banned along EDSA for 6 hours (from 7-10am and from 6-9pm) for 5 days (Mondays to Fridays).

First: Plain and simple, the HOV scheme is a violation of the Constitution, specifically Article III (Bill of Rights), Section 6: “x x x Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.” None of the 3 exempting conditions exists; neither is there an existing law to that effect.

Second: Since MMDA copies the HOV scheme of other countries, why not follow the U.S. HOV scheme? As in the U.S., why not make the “left most lane/s” of EDSA as special lane/s to “2 or more occupants vehicles” while the rest of the EDSA lanes may be used by “driver only vehicles”, not completely banning them from EDSA?

Third: MMDA does not have any alternate routes (other than EDSA) for “driver only vehicles”; instead, it tells these motorists to look for them. A very, very irresponsible statement coming from MMDA officials! Why pass onto these motorists their duty and problem? Why cause difficulties to these motorists who pays road users tax and follow the extended number coding schemes. Please, MMDA officials, better think again and do your researches and studies. You are being paid with taxpayers money.