Good evening to everyone!
Mga kahigalaan dinhi sa Cebu City, maayong gabi-i kaninyong tanan!
Thank you very much for having me here in your induction ceremonies, where I am privileged to bear witness to a changing of the guards in the premier broadcast media organization in the country—the KBP!
I say that I am privileged because in my honest, sincere and non-patronizing opinion, this event is very meaningful and significant not just for the broadcast industry, but for the general public as well.
First of all, this renewal of leadership in the KBP is a clear testament that a brand of Filipino broadcasting that is not only free and fearless, but professional and ethical as well, is ever so alive and afire—especially here on this side of the country!
Corollarily, it proves the continued wisdom and viability of the liberal policy of self-regulation of the broadcast industry here in the Philippines. The lessons of history have taught us precisely this. And in twenty-two (22) years of existence, the KBP has grown into a formidable entity, all-too familiar even to the ordinary masang Pilipino. Year in-year out, the KBP has proven itself to be the singular unifying force among peers in the industry, which is instrumental in making such self-regulation not only possible, but credible and efficient as well.
The KBP’s mature development comes in a right time in our political history, considering the present state of our government and our institutions, which is characterized by slow and/or weak implementation of our laws, administration of justice, and delivery of basic services to our citizens.
On the other hand, this weakness of our government and our institutions is also what emboldens the unscrupulous and criminal elements to crawl out of the woodwork and take advantage of the situation for purposes of effortless and unjust personal gain.
Free and fearless journalism fills in this gap in our democratic systems and institutions. It acts as the “beacon of light”—the “bidlisiw sa aldaw”—in the darkest nooks and crannies of society. As Justice Louis Brandeis of the United States Supreme Court has pragmatically put it: “sunlight is the best of disinfectants”!
Traditionally viewed in England as the “fourth Estate”, the free press may well be viewed in our society as a “third eye”—literally, the “ika-tulo nga mata”—for events already elusive to the naked eyes of the general public and for important matters of public interest where government and the private sector have apathetically or deliberately chosen to shut their own eyes.
And as the grand corporate vehicles of our free press in this country, broadcast organizations play an important and indispensable role in amplifying this light and magnifying this ocular lens of our free press.
Indeed the formidable and pervasive power of broadcast media has shown its might in effecting profound changes in the life of our nation. Paired with our free press, this dynamic duo serves as a powerful check against the government and even big businesses, which have exhibited tendencies to use their strong arm in the face of public criticism if impelled by survival instincts.
Broadcast media is capable of arming citizens with the strong weapon of information, which, due to its empowering effect, can mobilize the citizenry to be vigilant and to protect their rights and interests.
This is all the more crucial and significant in matters concerning the lives and conduct of public figures, especially public servants who are entrusted not only with public funds but also enormous power.
As our Supreme Court has declared as early as 1918:
“Complete liberty to comment on the conduct of public men is a scalpel in the case of free speech. The sharp incision of its probe relieves the abscesses of officialdom. Men in public life may suffer under a hostile and an unjust accusation; the wound can be assuaged with the balm of a clear conscience.”
Ang gawasnon nga pagkomentaryo sa gawi o gimbuhaton sa mga opisyalis sa gobyerno usa ka kutsilyo sa gawasnong pamahayag.
Our “gawasnon, responsable ug wala’y kahadlok nga press” (free, responsible and fearless press) is the symbolic scalpel that does the dirty yet noble job of extracting the “pigsa” and the “nana” of our public service.
Kung aduna may kasakit nga mu resulta, kini matambalan sa lana sa putli nga konsyensya!
I know this for a fact. Ako po mismo, na isang halal na Senador ng Republika, ay walang-kawala at hindi “exempted” sa mga banat at batikos ng ating mga matatapang at magigiting na mamamahayag na tulad ninyo!
Once in a while, I see and hear my name get dragged into some unsavory issues and damning controversies. But my clear conscience is my only relief—my trusty “White Flower”, “Tiger Balm”, or “Salonpas” that more than comfortably assuages me for all the pain and bloodless beatings inflicted by our free and fearless press!
So I highly urge our friends in the KBP to be ever on-guard and ever of service to the people, playing the roles of both a watchdog and a toy dog of the people, all in one. Siyempre, kailangan din nating pasayahin—patawanin at paiyakin—ang ating mga kababayan, sa pamamagitan ng mga palabas na mataas ang antas at kalidad at nakapagtuturo ng mabuting asal, lalo na sa ating kabataan.
Like public servants, you are members of a profession as well, with a Code of Ethics that governs your professional and private lives. Let us all faithfully live by our sworn oaths and duties to the profession and to the public as an industry that is “gawasnon” (fair), “responsable”, “klaro”, “insakto” (accurate), “wala’y gidapigan” (fair) and “wala’y kahadlok” (fearless)—in accordance not only with the Broadcast Code but also with the Journalist’s Code of Ethics.
Last but definitely not least, look after and take care of each other, especially in your respective organizations. Ameliorate, uplift and improve the welfare, economic condition, safety and security of our employees, staff and personnel—not only our guwapo at guwapa (and also pampered) entertainers and talents, our news anchors and field reporters, but also our camera crew, editors, down to the faceless yet equally crucial individuals that work tirelessly in the background, behind the cameras, and outside the studio booths.
With all humility, I share with you this simple message and thoughts for all of you tonight, ladies and gentlemen.
Hindi ko na po patatagalin pa! Daghan na ko nasturya!
Congratulations to everybody, especially to the newly inducted officers and newly minted members of the KBP-Cebu City chapter!
Until we meet again—that is, of course, until the next occasion, event or scandal of public significance, which always happen anyway! Your humble “SULIGUON” is always ready and willing to share with you his views and opinions on the vital and relevant issues generated by these important events, in the hope of contributing to the public welfare and our nation-building.
Mabuhay ang malayang pamamahayag sa Pilipinas!
Mabuhay ang Kapisanan ng Brodkaster ng Pilipinas ng Cebu City!
Daghang salamat ug maayong gabi-i kaninyong tanan!