Delivered during the Philippine Media Conference on Climate Change Adaptation
November 24, 2011, Legazpi City, Albay


National Press Club
Delivered on Nov. 24, 2011 in Legazpi City, Albay

Jerry S. Yap, president of National Press Club

WHAT are journalists here for?

What can we do for the so-called “Climate Change”?

Why do we need to be here?

Who are we to be of significance?

And if there is sense of urgency for our role, when will it begin?

And when all these questions are answered, how we newsmen should act in relation to this phenomenon that has gripped the whole world?

News, as they define in the simplest form, is one that answers five (5) Ws and one (1) H. 

And in order for the news to be able to answer all these 5 Ws and 1 H, the newsmen must be able to gather the answers for those questions so that we can have substantive information to be told to the public that relies on us.
The more detailed and more truthful the information gathered on those 5 Ws and 1 H, the more effective is the communication that we newsmen convey to the public,    the more informed the people will be as to the truth and not conjectures,    the more the people will become intelligent to decide for their individual actions,    the better we serve the environment that we all live in under the unavoidable circumstances that everybody depends on each other,    that each of the communities lives or dies on the actions of each other,    that each of the provinces exists or is erased from the face of the earth on the decisions of each other,    that each of the nations in the world can continue to be here on the performances of each of these countries.
Against the backdrop of these questions to be answered is one most difficult realities.

This most difficult thing is this:

To illustrate, what will happen with the efforts of the people of Bulacan in saving their environment in the best and the most prudence and most diligence they could if for instance the neighboring Nueva Ecija and Pampanga will destroy their environment?   Do you think the floods generated from these neighboring provinces will not inundate Bulacan and see the riotous waters destroy all that Bulacan has tried to build?

One barangay would be so informed about the essence of reversing the change of the climate.    But what will happen if only one villager would cut trees or slash and burn these green living things?    Going to a bigger scale, what would happen to all the efforts of the Philippines to bring back to life all the forests that were once lost yet people in China, Malaysia, Japan, or Taiwan are cutting theirs and run their smoke-emitting industries on a massive scale?
In other words, each element is indispensable to act in concert with all others.    As we see that even if only one would do otherwise, all building blocks that have been piled up one layer after another will crumble.

Our breed as journalists holds the distinction as the one that always starts every clarion call that has inspired every oppressed group of people to rise up against tyranny.   See the impassioned pen of Jose P. Rizal, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena, and others who awakened the dragon in the hearts of the lowly who were chained by fear, like Andres Bonifacio who lit up the flame of revolution after having been inflamed by Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.   This history has never changed: it has repeated once again in the “Arab Spring” that liberated Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.   Today, I firmly believe, the same history will repeat if we all media men agree to replicate the commitments and the pledges of our heroes past.

Taking this into the context of what they call “Climate Change,” are we prepared to repeat history?

And why should we not come to agree? 

Climate Change has been proven to be a very clear and very present danger by the ever-preponderant floods that have occurred never before, among them the floods in the dessert of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, the floods that nearly wiped to extinction North Carolina after they were unloaded onto the Mississippi River by Typhoon Kathrina, the countless floods that have occurred during typhoon days in our lands like those brought in by Ondoy and Pedring, and now the floods in Thailand that still submerge the whole city of Bangkok.  Remember, THESE NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE IN OUR MEMORY.

But this fight of this century is far harder than what our ascendants did in fighting for freedom of the country.   Mind you, if Jose Rizal and company could afford to continue the fight even if traitors were aplenty, this fight against Climate Change needs to be won by only one means: there must be no traitor.    This I stress as I reiterate that it takes only one man—only one man—to destroy what the whole community has done to preserve the environment.

Let me reiterate:   Can we in the press be one in this battle where once we all declare a total fight against one mining project where nobody would stray to profit from the spins of opportunities?

So that it is clear, when the power of one is needed, one-half is not allowed, three-fourths is not allowed. It must be all of us or nothing.

Of course to be one in every stand we take, we must meet for a consensus and decide among ourselves after examining the merits of all issues whether we will fight to the finish the quarrying being done in one town in a nearby province under the blessings of the powers-that-be there. 

To give you a hint on how we should do it, let me tell you a true-to-life story.   

In one province, there were many small-time miners who were made to apply for mining permits in concessions adjacent to each other and contiguous when grouped together.    Since it is a small-scale mining, the permits belong to the authority of the province; otherwise it has to be approved by the national government.   After the permits were issued to the names of small people, a big-time mining firm came in bringing in heavy equipment to be the one to profit from the mines, making the permit holders its dummies and slaves at the same time.   Then, we must have a national council where all media groups have their respective representatives to gather, discuss the merits of the issues, decide to take a stand, submit the decision for ratification of the members of each of the groups, and once unanimity is achieved, we will together speak as one, act as one, fight as one for the grander purpose of saving the environment under the theory that one province's fall is all others’ misery.

Can we do this?  I see no reason we cannot.

Digging further, let me assume a hypothetical situation. 

If we journalists firmly believe that climate change is a clear and present danger to humanity as they say,   and if we believe that the cause of climate change is the thing that causes the earth to be hotter each year,    and if we believe that when the world becomes hotter it sparks the melting process to start its own domino,   and if we believe there are mountains of ice in the North and South Poles of the Earth, then the continuously rising temperature will slowly crush those heaps into falling glaciers then turn into water that will in turn add up to the height of the level of seas,   and if we believe when there are more waters in the seas these will slowly eat up the lands,   and if we believe that the hotter climate increases the volume of water evaporation into the atmosphere to obey the rule of what comes up must come down,  and if we believe that when more water comes up more rains will come down,   and if we believe more rainfalls will come then these will saturate all our natural catch basins to spill over big volumes to natural floodways,   and if we believe more volumes  are pouring every year then a time will come the magnitude would be too much for the natural floodways to handle,   and if we believe there will come a time that these floods would be much bigger than what Ondoy or Peping brought in then these will erode life and earth.  


Can we journalist now see this indispensable need to stand up and act, and to stand up all of us must do so because even one of us doing otherwise will crush all of us back to our kingdom come?

We are not experts on Climate Change.  But we can be taught. And journalists are good learners.

We can learn from this Media Conference on Climate Change Adaptation and, hopefully, if the visionary Governor Joey Sarte Salceda offers courses for all journalists at the first and very laudable institution of its kind, the CLIMATE CHANGE ACADEMY of Albay.

Perhaps, all of us have seen the frightening movie entitled “The Inconvenient Truth.”  It is a powerful presentation of facts and proofs that Climate Change is a real threat that would make true the Bible prediction of the “End of the World.”

          Due to this, I am now dedicating the rest of my life to the “Mother Nature”, the “Mother Of All Causes.”
          It is the only one truth. Let us be one with truth.
          Will you my fellow journalists do the same?
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