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PIA Press Release

December is National Press Congress Month

Manila (7 December) -- December is "National Press Congress Month and the Month of the Community Press in the Service of the Nation." It has been declared as such under Presidential Proclamation No. 1187.

The Proclamation calls for media practitioners to remain vigilant vanguards of press freedom and free speech.

It also encourages media to reinvent itself to remain relevant to the increasingly complex psycho-social, geo-political and continually changing configuration of the economic milieu.

Media must do so, otherwise, it risks forfeiting its credibility as purveyor of information deemed vital in forging a national consensus on strategic and cogent issues.

Significantly, proclamation 1187 consecrates the month of December as the month of the community press and spotlights on the men and women of the community press who have dedicated themselves to their craft in the service of the nation.

This month's observance will be highlighted by the 15th National Press Congress at Dakak Park and Beach Resort in the historic Shrine City of Dapitan, where Dr. Jose Rizal was exiled by the Spanish colonial masters for fomenting "unrest" in the hearts and minds of the God-fearing Filipinos.

By "unrest," they meant Rizal's invocation of the basic rights to free speech, free expression, and free assembly - all fundamental freedoms claimed by the enlightened humanity but which the Spanish clergy considered abominable when invoked by "Indios" like Rizal.

As spearhead organization of the month-long observance, the Publishers Association of the Philippines Inc. (PAPI) has adopted the theme, "Media Re-engeering Tourism and Climate Change Initiatives."

The theme focuses on tourism and climate change. Tourism builds international bridges of friendship, regardless of creed and culture, while climate change is a new global phenomenon threatening the survival of humanity. Both are inter-dependent and media has a critical role to play in balancing their interlinked dimensions.

Drawn to Dapitan where the fiery spirit to be free once soared proud and unbowed, some 250 publishers, broadcasters, editors, media executives and other journalists and communicators will converge and pay homage to our national hero, it indeed behooves media leaders and practitioners to redefine and re-engineer their sense of purpose and direction within the context of the country's rapidly shifting and dynamic forces of growth and development.

No less than President Benigno S. Aquino III has hailed the PAPI National Press Congress.

Zamboanga del Norte Gov. Rolando Yebes, Dapitan City Mayor Dominador Jalosjos Jr., Vice Mayor Patri Bajamundo-Chan, and City Councilor Anna Marie "Apple" Agolong, chair of the City Council committee on tourism, lead Region IX in welcoming the first-ever Mindanao edition of the National Press Congress. (PNA thru PIA 3) [top]

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