TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The Department of Education – Cordillera Administrative Region (DepEd-CAR) launched a 4-day regional press conference and contest for 2,334 elementary and high school students to hone the skills of future writers, journalists, and broadcasters.
The students who are vie for the best writer award in different categories represent the six provinces and two cities in the region – Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Baguio City, and host Tabuk City.
The categories they compete in are news writing, photo journalism, feature writing, editorial writing, sports writing, science news writing, lay-outing and design, copy reading and headline writing, editorial cartooning, and radio broadcasting in Filipino and English. They event carries the theme “Embracing ASEAN integration: Campus journalist’s role in advancing inclusive education.”
In a message during the opening program on Wednesday, Kalinga Acting Governor James Edduba said, “Journalism is related to press freedom and free expression and these are the hallmark of democracy.”
However, as the purpose of the freedom is to inform people how they could make the best decisions about their lives and communities, the manner of informing must be fair and accurate, present an important and interesting story, relevant, and most of all, empowers. He added that freedom of expression is a basic right of every citizen protected by the Constitution.
“The universal declaration of human rights describes freedom of expression as the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” With this guarantee, everyone is given the right to express their views but “must have the duty to behave responsibly and to respect other people’s rights.”
Edduba urged the participants to be responsible in expressing their ideas, whether it be in tri-media or social media, which is accessible to everybody of all ages.
“The use of social media must not be abused. I am an avid user of the social media so that we can inform our people about the good things that are happening in our province and at the same time promote its tourism potentials, thus contributing to sustainable development, social and economic growth, encourage accountability and transparency in governance.”
Edduba said that the government will do its best for the constituents but the youth has an important role to perform as budding journalists.
“Your role as responsible members of the different school press will certainly help us spread the good news of honesty and fair play in any endeavor that we engage in.”
Kalinga Congressman Alan Jesse Mangaoang, in a message delivered by Sammy Bayangan, also urged the students to use the power of the pen wisely and for a good purpose. He said that media is a very powerful sector of the society which could destroy or build a person, a place, or even a nation and the youth, even in their respective schools, should use traditional media and social media for a good purpose, to help their respective provinces or towns.
The Cordillera schools press conference is an annual competition on a regional level with winners in each category fielded to the national competition to vie against the best budding writers from the different provinces and regions of the country.
By Jesse Maguiya