Let this Christmas give stronger press freedom

December 25, 2011
Statement of National Press Club President Jerry S. Yap

Let this Christmas give stronger press freedom

Our ranks have been put to tests.

The freedom of speech and of the press have been threatened really and dangerously.

Many of us have been stappled by court charges.

Others were silenced eternally.

But we’ve proved our firmness.

Our ranks never stoop to twisted wishes.

We fought face to face with the controversies.

In some challenges we won. In others, we were delayed. But we should not feel weary by the turtle phases for we believe that in the finish line light waits for us.

In the midst of darkness besetting our country, political or natural catastrophes, there is always a reason for us to be merry.

For we, who untirely tread the days, have installed a commemorative mark in front of the National Press Club building in memory of the 32 journalists forced to write 30 on November 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

The names of our fallen comrades in pen are engraved on a black granite tablet for everybody to perpetually remember their conviction to press freedom, despising the barrel of guns or threat of goons.

For them, we fought and won legal battles, especially when the Supreme Court granted our petition that the court hearings of charges against the murderers be open for media coverage.

We never stop to ask government agencies and courts for the delivery of justice for the murdered Palawan brodcaster, Doctor Jerry Ortega.

We never keep our silence for a just treatment of the case against broadcaster Ryan Duga-duga Uy, Tony Herrera and Genesis Ajero who were planted with drugs in Dipolog to ensure they are in jail and can no longer criticize.

We never end our shouts until justice is delivered to the murdered brodcasters, including the ten killed since the time of President P-Noy began: Jose Daguio of Kalinga, Miguel Belen of Camarines Sur, Edilberto Cruz of Nueva Ecija, Edison Flameniana Sr. Of Zamboanga del Sur, Dr. Gerry Ortega of Palawan, Cirilo Gallardo of Abra, Ma. Len Flores Somera of Malabon, Romeo Olea of Camarines Sur, Niel Aranga Jimena of Iloilo and Bacolod, and Roy Bagtikan Gallego of Surigao del Sur.

We will never be shaky in asking for justice for Radyo ng Bayan anchorman Jerome Tabanganay who was whacked with microphone on his mouth by Kalinga Governor Jocel Baac. The incident was contemptuous because it happened right inside the announcer’s booth while Tabanganay was on live broadcast.

The killings and other physical maneuvers can never shake our foundation. We are convinced that the freedom of the press is the ultimate weapon against the corrupt, the moneyed and the powerful who never falter in committing abuses against our People.

With the conviction granted to us by the Almighty.

With this freedom firmly engraved on the stone tablet of the constitution for both the journalists and the non-journalists.

With the rights shared by everyone in a democratic socety.

We have unmeasured reason to celebrate the Season of Joy and Peace.

Let this Christmas give us strength to continue the fight for press freedom.
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