By Johnny Dayang
After a period of ambiguity, things seem to have normalized in Boracay. Except for the foreign tourists who have kept the cash registers ringing for residents and establishments, money deals in the island have shifted to subsidies.
No matter how good the intention of the State in assisting the displaced islanders, however, the chaos has demonstrated the failure of the local government and the national agencies to put in place the mechanisms that provide more precise information for affected sectors.
Indeed, while there has been a good coverage by national media of developments so far taking place in Boracay, the provincial press seem to have been consciously left out in the scheme of things. It thus takes the oversight as an injustice since it can also play a significant role as partner in disseminating the objectives of the government’s rehabilitation plan.
For the government to really be effective in communicating with the islanders, the first element that comes into play is local language facility which many of the personnel from national state agencies do not have. Expectedly, the local press, being Aklanon-speaking, possesses the tools that efficiently help deliver the message to the affected folks.
Media, as a channel of communication, is not only needed in informing the public about the nitty-gritty of government plans, but also possess the facility that makes clear the intentions of the state, especially when some sectors, for dubious reasons, distort the facts.
As the rehabilitation plan moves forward, the local media remain left out in back seat, an obvious oversight of fact that in shaping the island into a global tourist destination, the community media also contributed much to what have been achieved.
The press must be viewed by the State as part of the indispensable prime movers towards realizing a sound and systemic restoration plan, the thrust and direction of which are better appreciated when the media is tapped as an ally.
Understandably, the government has its own agenda when it comes to broadcasting its intents in Boracay. Its objective, however, can be rendered more positive if amplified by capable journalists from various media channels.
For the Boracay crisis, since it was declared in a state of calamity, presenting a clear picture of the government’s resolve to rehabilitate the tourism island paradise can best be done with media help.