Comforting the Afflicted, Afflicting the Comfortable

When I was in journalism school at the University of the Philippines (UP) many decades ago, our professors -- all giants in the field -- imprinted into our consciousness two basic tenets that every decent journalist should take to heart: first, that an independent, unfettered press is vital to good government, and second, it is not the role of the press to comfort the comfortable. On the contrary, the role of the press is to make those in power uncomfortable, by being the guardian and the disseminator of truth and decency. Such principles were tested sorely during martial law, and they are again being tested now.

To paraphrase Oprah, the press is currently under siege, not just in the US but more so in the Philippines. Upholding press freedom has become a bruising challenge these days; its suppression has taken many forms -- from outright harassment, legal cases, trolling and imprisonment, even killing of journalists. The latest case is the revocation of the license to operate of Rappler, an online publication in Manila. With our In The Know links this week, we keep you updated on the issue:

Rappler Registration Revoked

SEC revocation of Rappler’s registration explained

Three things Duterte got wrong about Rappler

In time of slaughter and lies, Rappler is a beacon of hope

Of PDRs and 'foreign ownership' of PH media

Media, human rights groups slam SEC closure order vs. Rappler

Our lineup for this week takes us to Vancouver, Canada as PF contributing writer Sandie Gillis chronicles the visit of National Artist BenCab and his drawing session with Filipino-Canadian artists who belong to the Dimasalang III artist collective in that area. 

It also takes us back in time to the construction of the railroad to Baguio in the early part of the 20th century by our American colonizers. Historian/academic Michael Gonzalez writes about the progress and folly of the ambitious project to provide the Americans in the Philippines an easy way to vacation in the land of pines.

PF publisher Mona Lisa Yuchengco attended for the first time and writes about the annual event of Bantayog ng Mga Bayani in Quezon City. Bantayog is a memorial site for the gallant men and women who resisted martial law and last year, the Bantayog heroes included the late Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco, who turned out to be a secret supporter of some "subversive" activities against Marcos.

And in the same spirit of resistance, let's revisit what is now immortalized as the First Quarter Storm of 1970. Read Again journalist Jose "Pete" Lacaba's riveting account of that period, from his classic book Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage. We posted it in two parts:

Our Happy Home Cook recipe for this week: Bangus Sisig by Chef Niel Salvatera of Kusina de Manila in Des Plaines, Illinois.

For our Video of the Week, TV Journalist TJ Manotoc opens up on a taboo topic in Philippines: Living with Depression.

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino