Press Release
March 31, 2006

Drilon pays tribute to RP press

Senate President and Liberal Party head Franklin M. Drilon today (March 31) denounced the attempts of the Arroyo administration to muzzle the Philippine media and paid tribute to the Filipino journalists who refused to be cowed.

In a speech before the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) conference in Makati City, Drilon said "I salute the local media, those journalists who have sacrificed their lives or who have been hurt but continue to serve the truth."

Drilon gave the tribute as he recalled that 28 Filipino journalists have been killed in the past five years in pursuit of their profession as recorded by the International Press Institute, the International Federation of Journalists and the Philippine Union of Journalists.

The Senate chief urged the business communicators from Asia and the Pacific attending the conference to adhere strictly to the truth in communicating with their publics because "once you are caught lying you will also lose your credibility, and you will cease to be effective as communicators."

Drilon also warned government leaders to adhere to the truth in communicating to the public, otherwise the people would lose their trust and confidence in their leaders.

"It is the same with government. When its highest officials are caught lying, government loses public respect and support. It is wrong to blame the public for losing their faith in mendacious leaders. The blame must be laid on those who lied," Drilon added.

Drilon also disputes the suggestion by those in power that a bad press, meaning a critical and free press, that reports pervasive corruption, rampant criminality and continuing political instability, might drive away potential investors and tourists. Quoting Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence, Drilon said: "To the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over terror and oppression"

In lauding the Philippine media for its adherence to truth in reporting, Drilon expressed confidence that the Philippine media would not be cowed by efforts of the Arroyo administration to suppress it.

He pointed out that even under conditions of martial law during the Marcos regime, the Philippine media continued to denounce abuses in underground publications and prohibited electronic transmissions.

He said that the issuance of Proclamation 1017, declaring a state of national emergency, and the raid on a newspaper critical of the administration, has not succeeded in intimidating media.

Drilon also stressed the vital role that the Information and Communications Technology plays in advancing social and economic progress throughout the world, particularly in the era of globalization, where the speed of obtaining and spreading information is important to business survival and profitability.

"Today the region of Asia and the Pacific is rising and catching up with the advanced countries of the world. It has been able to do this in part because of its embrace of open and effective communications based on truth and accurate information reflecting the realities facing the world as a global village," he declared.

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