I've been wondering this for months already and I do not really know what the Philippine government is doing. This Monday, July 24, 2006, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will have her SONA or the State-of-the-Nation Address. We will hear what "her government" did, is doing, and plans to do. But how about the rest of the Philippine government?
Our country is prone to typhoons, not just prone, but we're directly in the path of these typhoons. We also know that majority of the country's regions are not built-on-stone, many still use woods, trees, anything nature provides as our home. Let's not forget that many are more or less on the poverty line. Many areas are also prone to landslides, floods, and tornadoes. All those and we haven't heard of any local government establishing an emergency siren. Ever wondered about that?
Imperial Manila don't even have those, but granted, Imperial Manila is more improved than the rest of the country. Then why not put emergency sirens in regions where there death is a high possibility when nature unleashes her force? Through these sirens, the people will know that there is an upcoming threat, that they should start going home, find shelter, and prepare for the worst. Do we value the lives of our fellow Filipinos or not? Why is it that we only show their value after a calamity hit them? Why not show their value by giving them early warning systems? We are already doing more than enough educating them, but what is education if they don't know the degree of the upcoming danger? These sirens will help spread the news that the upcoming danger (or the possibility of it) is something that they must not ignore. If they still choose to ignore it, then they should not blame the government anymore.
To the local governments, please establish these sirens in your respective area of responsibility. Let's help our kababayans. Hey, these sirens are not just for upcoming calamities, these sirens will be very useful as an early warning system for an upcoming invasion. What if a war erupts in North Korea? The Philippines is a legitimate target, especially that the American army is conducting a training with the Philippine Army. Through these sirens, instead of getting reports of a hundred people dead, we might get only less than half or even a quarter or zero death toll. Protect us, you are the people in the position, you are the people we voted, give us early warning systems.
Now how about the media? Have anyone noticed that the Philippine media is reporting negative news most of the time? We will hear and read about accidents, wars, bombings, corruptions, court trials, etc. What's wrong with it? It is affecting the Filipino people. These negative news only produces dissatisfaction with the government, disappointment, and worst, it only destroys the hope of the Filipino people. Where is balance here? Is this what the journalists call "balance news"? We will hear and read good news only for a fraction of time via television networks, usually it is a short segment. Newspapers on the other hand, it is only a small section compared to the articles written about negative materials.
Instead of helping our nation, the Filipino people to have a positive outlook in life and of their mother country, they get discouraged because of the news the Philippine media is presenting. I am not saying that you should stop presenting these type of news, but can you journalists and media give more emphasis on the good things that is happening in the country, in our environment, our government, our society, OUR COMMUNITY? Is that hard to do? Why always pick negative news? Why give a lengthy article about corruption in newspapers - we already know about it and we are tired of it. Give us something fresh, something enlightening, something that will give us hope, something that will return the Filipino people's trust and bright future for their own country - the Philippines. Give us BALANCE NEWS, balance the negative and the positive news and articles. There are lots of positive materials that you journalists can write about, you don't need a segment for it, you don't need an episode for it or a new show for it, put it in the headlines, put it at the beginning and at the end of your news telecasts. Minimize the presentation of deaths, fires, rape cases, corruptions, rallies, again and again, we hear it everyday already, we read it everywhere, start controlling yourselves, start helping your country.
Yeah, statistics show this and that, statistics show that the Filipino people wants to know what's happening about their country, but do you really think they wouldn't know it? In fact, even if 75%~80% of your news telecasts and newspaper articles are all about the good stuff happening in our community, our country, the Filipino people will still know about the corruption in the country, the Filipino people will still know about the rape cases, the gang fights, the rallies, why? Because we are part of it. We humans can easily find negative stuff around us, so as the media, as a journalist, as the people who have a wide influence and wide audience, counter that human nature by reporting and writing about the good in our world.
No, I am not referring about the beauty of nature, the beauty of the Philippines, the tourism spots in the country, we already know that since our elementary days. Show in your news and articles things like how the Philippines was able to keep itself afloat amidst all the international troubles - this type of news will counter the view that the Philippines is all but "going down the drain". How about tackling stem research and how it will help the sick people or if its abused, the complications of it? You see, instead of making the Filipino people feel down, feel sad, lose hope for their country, their environment, their lives, make them engage into a healthy conversation, make them think for themselves of what good they can bring to their country, make them run their minds full of ideas, encourage them to share their thoughts on how to improve our society instead of sulking in their homes because the Philippines is so corrupt. Is that hard?
Don't tell us that it is the job of the government to do those stuff, c'mon, we all have social responsibilities here, and just watch the TV networks and read newspapers from other countries, they give emphasis on the good stuff and they make their audience engage in a healthy discussion - even between their families. Don't you know that for every negative news you show or write, the basic form of community - the "family" gets affected of the news? Each member of the family will then bring it to their colleagues and schoolmates, discuss about it, and there you have it, negative thinkers.
*sigh* Here's a final example and question for the government and the media. How prepared and educated is the Philippines and the Filipino people about the Avian Flu? To the government, what preparations did you do in-case of an Avian Pandemic? To the media, have you helped your country, your society, your loved ones by tackling about our preparedness for an Avian Pandemic? To the journalists, we've read about how scary it is and we've read about how it works, but we're not scientists who will discover the cure for it, why not write about how we can fight or counter an Avian Pandemic?
Avian Pandemic, before the North Korean missile tests and Middle-East problems filled the news, I've seen news reports and read articles about how other countries prepare themselves in-case of an Avian Pandemic, but the Philippines is full of news and articles about the Subic-rape case, the Anti-GMA rallies and impeachment attempts, the pro-GMA projects, houses burning (hello, leave the fire-reports to the local authorities), we don't know how prepared our country is! Has the government took measures? Do we have enough supplies of medicines that will help slow down the Avian Pandemic in case it happens? Well it will happen according to the scientists, it is just a matter of when. So? Updates? Tell us about these stuff! Tell us something new, something different, something worthwhile, something that will help us!! We already know about the Subic-rape case, the corruption in the government, fires burning (if you really want to report it, why not report buildings on fire instead of residentials?), the news and newspapers are already full of negative stuff. Time to Change! Tell us something else. It's mid-2006 already, when are we going to change our tradition?