Cover the press, too

>> Monday, October 24, 2016

March L. Fianza

Colleagues in the media perform their role knowing in the back of their mind that they are guided by a journalist code of ethics that are both written and unwritten. From the time since I joined their ranks, we have been seeing each other almost every day.
As years came and went, each one had to go his or her own way. Many have gone to newsrooms in the sky, some changed addresses or have shifted to a different trade, while others risked their fate in politics. Some won, others lost.
That has been the scene in the media. What is obvious though is that we are aware of each other’s engagements, including the craziness and the “allowable” violations of rules in the code of ethics.
For those who are no longer active in media practice because they have changed occupations or have gone to greener pastures, they are covered by news persons left in the media business who gladly perform their role. This is like wearing a shoe on the other foot.
This reminds me that I can now take advantage of a media colleague who doubles as a city councilor. The journalist code of ethics tells me “not to enrich oneself at the expense of a fellow newsman” but that is exactly what I will do.   
There is no violation of the journalist code of ethics even while I will be “taking advantage of my own kind” but to me, that is what my subject wants to happen. It seems like an unwritten agreement between us.
My subject is Northern Dispatch editor-on-leave, media colleague and city councilor Art Alladiw who proposed an ordinance “providing for an Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) in the City Council of Baguio”.
For the past few years, Ibaloys in Baguio ached long enough to have their IPMR in the city council if only to have someone who can assist them in their fight for their rights. Nobody saw this coming until this Sagada Kankanaey guy proposed the ordinance.
I do not know if he is proposing from the heart as he claims to care for IPs, but his proposal looked alright although I sensed a tinge of “traponess” with the way his proposal was written. That is why I made some amendments to make it more explicit and straightforward.  
Councilor Alladiw reminded LGUs who do not recognize IP Mandatory Representatives that he proposed the ordinance pursuant to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 and the Local Government Code of 1991.
The LGUs may refer for guidelines from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in installing the IPMRs in the different LGU legislative bodies.
It was also pointed out under Section 3 of the proposed ordinance that Baguio City has several Indigenous Peoples Groups, with the Ibaloy tribe as the dominant group.
Although, there are other northern Cordillera tribes that chose to reside in the city, it does not mean that they are qualified to sit as IPMR in the council because the Ibaloy tribe is the original and dominant IP population even prior to the charter of the City of Baguio or since time immemorial.
A significant reason why an Ibaloy should sit as IPMR is that there are hundreds of ancestral land cases involving “government claimed properties” and squatters or informal settlers. Have they really become public prior to the charter?
Since this is the case, the Baguio council IPMR should be occupied by one belonging to the Ibaloy ancestral domain. This is to avoid awkward situations where the Baguio Ibaloys are represented by an IP belonging to another tribe.
Reversing the same situation, an Ibaloy cannot be an IPMR in a community, say for example Sagada, Mountain Province that is dominated by Sagada Kankanaeys. If we are to allow the awkward situation, we will be confirming the observation that Baguio indeed is the newest LGU under Mountain Province, considering that we have many councilors who trace their roots to MP.
Under Section 6 of Alladiw’s ordinance, it allows the IPs which I understand belong to the Ibaloy tribe, to a term-sharing agreement. He said this may be based on population ratio which contradicts Section 3, since it was already agreed that the IPMR is none other than one belonging to the Ibaloy tribe.
I hope that councilor Alladiw can inject these points into the minds of his colleagues in the council and that these sentiments of an Ibaloy will be understood. I also pray that common sense and fairness will overpower the “traponess” lurking in the mind of every old or newly elected public official.  
President Rodrigo Duterte signed last week Administrative Order No. 01 creating a Presidential Task Force against media killings. Can we now say that Duterte cares for the media and believes in press freedom after all?
The order talks about a task force concerned with the rights, life, liberty and security of members of the media. This is unprecedented. And soon as its implementing rules come out, we pray that the order carries with it the mandate in ensuring a safe environment for news persons.
The task force is chaired by Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II and co-chaired by Communications Sec. Martin Andanar. After Duterte’s trip in China, the task force would invite heads of print and broadcast organizations as observers and resource persons.
The first task will be the inventory of all cases of violence against media workers, with high-profile cases to be given priority, while new cases on media killings will be probed by a team of investigators.
Our suggestion is for the task force to create an arm or extension body on the regional level composed of the PNP, AFP, CHR, PIA, KBP, NUJP and other media organizations to help facilitate the resolution of cases, considering that the local media outfits are knowledgeable of the cases in their districts.  


  © Blogger templates Palm by 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics