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New Vistas for the Community Press

The Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI), the media organization that largely represents the country’s community press, holds its 21st National Press Congress at the spacious and ideally located Development Academy of the Philippines in Tagaytay City, starting today until tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

Established in 1974 or 42 years ago by prominent journalists and writers led by Kerima Polotan Tuvera, Juan A. Perez, Gen. Hans Menzi, Raul L. Locsin and Rosario Olivarez, among others in response to urgent issues and challenges facing free expression and information, generated by the declaration of Martial Law, PAPI remains relevant today, even as certain concerns may have changed.

Current issues and challenges confronting the organization now include the future of the Philippine press, particularly the community press under the presidency of Rodrigo Roa Duterte, federalism, extra judicial killings, environmental degradation and destruction, corruptions, media killings, national inclusive growth, among others, will be tackled during the 2-day national press meet.

PAPI’s National Press Congress is mandated under Presidential Proclamation 1187 declaring December every year as the Month of the Community Press in the service of the nation. The event is also regarded by community media players including publishers, media executives, editors, reporters, broadcasters, information officers and campus journalists from all over the country as their highly cherished annual homecoming.

This column congratulates the incumbent PAPI leadership headed by its president, Nelson Santos for their indefatigable efforts rallying the active participation of their members nationwide.

Having headed PAPI for about 20 years, I also wish to make special mention of our national leaders who fully supported PAPI during their incumbency, including former Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; Supreme Court Chief Justices Marcelo Fernan, Hilario Davide, Renato Corona and Reynato Puno; former Senate Presidents Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Blas Ople, Franklin Drilon; former Senator Heherson “Sonny Alvarez;” former House Speakers Jose de Venecia and Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte, among others.

My special appreciation also goes to Manila Bulletin Publisher Don Emilio Yap and former Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua. To them our brisk salute and gratitude for their generosity in helping uphold, safeguard and promote press freedom.

It is our earnest wish too that the long delayed Freedom of Information will shortly and uneventually be enacted to ensure transparency and sound and responsive public governance. (Johnny Dayang)