From the Editor-in-Chief: A Lively Exchange of Ideas

From the Editor-in-Chief

(Note: Today is the 23rd anniversary of NDB as a daily newspaper)

During the weekend, the TV hosts of the Cable TV program "Super Dot Com" Roberto Dot Soliven and NDB's Jun delos Reyes had a lively Exchange of Ideas with two Negros Press Club (NPC) presidents - Renato "Boy" Duran the incumbent and NDB's Pert Toga, former president who served the oldest press club of the Philippines twice after a span of 20 years during which his first term was in 1974-75 and again 1995-96.

NEGROS DAILY BULLETIN’s 57th Anniversary. Ruperto G. Toga, President & Editor-in-Chief of NDB (2nd L), with Renato “Boy” Duran, President of Negros Press Club & anchorman of DYEZ Aksyon Radyo (2nd R), during an interview over Sky Cable Channel 40’s Super Dot Com program, hosted by Roberto Dot Soliven and co-host Jun de los Reyes - aired live every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9PM to 10PM*

The topics of interview covered several aspects of media practices, various problems and conflicts involving controversies not only those plaguing public officials and issues of vital concern, but also those confronting the media practitioners themselves.

Dot Soliven, a vigilant watchdog of public issues and concerns, opened up with questions like, why do our media outlets here give so much attention to crimes and other violent incidents while most other outlets in developed countries give more importance to positive news developments? Can we not follow their good examples?

In so many words and arguments, the two NPC stalwarts focused on the important role of the mainstream media as a credible and crystal-clear mirror of the real estate of peace and order in the city, the province and community. The media practitioners may have their own individual likes and dislikes, biases and preferences, but when it comes to serving the best interest of their fellowmen, especially the less fortunate and oppressed, they usually join hands and stand up for the rights of the victims of injustice, crime and corruption.

Besides, while the more fortunate members of highly-developed society in advanced countries are more interested in high stake pursuits and economic aspirations, the common tao and average Filipinos are generally more interested and deeply concerned about their day-to-day basic needs, the threats to their safety and that of their family, prices of commodities, the traffic situation, health and welfare, among others, thus their priorities are peace and order, job opportunities, where to get the next meal and their own and their family's survival in general.

So, their main concerns usually focus on those little things that mean so much to them. Media outlets, aware of those priorities from their audiences, readers and viewers, perform their duties to quench the people's thirst for information that often borders on sensationalism, dramatization and even some tastes of exaggeration to cater to the curiosity of the average citizens.

Besides, many Filipinos are often fond of stories about scandals, both among the common tao and high society personalities involved in marital scandals, top government officials enmeshed in what are deemed infidelities, including gossips, speculative illicit relations and the like, thus overcrowding some significant stories from the headlines or front pages to the inside sections of newspapers and secondary portions of radio and TV newscasts. Sad, but they often tell the real stories.

The primary objectives of all these, the two pillars of the media industry pointed out, are to bring into the forefront of public consciousness, all the perceived breakdown of Law and order, violation of human rights and to condemn what is being denounced as Extra Judicial Killings (EJK) in the no-nonsense campaign against illegal drugs, the bane of modern society and among the main targets of the present Duterte administration.

Among the laudable causes and positive results that were made possible by the constant reminders and media pressures exerted by the city's vigilant advocates for police action against a series of robbery-holdups, crimes victimizing innocent wage earners and rape incidents among others, have so far resulted to the rounding up of a number of incorrigible crime suspects following insistent exposes by the city's crusading media practitioners, with the recidivists now facing criminal charges while the rest are being hunted by police operatives.

Truth to tell, the average Negrenses and Filipinos, despite all the negative happenings that often dominate the media outlets here are always in search of stories that inspire, stories that glorify the triumph of good over evil, where lawmakers and operatives pounce on the unscrupulous evil-doers, where the lawbreakers are finally defeated by the peacekeepers and law enforcers.

Those are the type of stories that a big majority of peace-loving Filipinos dream and hope to read, hear and view on media outlets, the ideal scenarios that should prevail in our troubled times.

Together with his co-host in the weekend Super Dot Com TV interview program, Jun delos Reyes, Dot Soliven asked the two guests to enumerate the highlights of their media thrusts in the service of their media colleagues during their terms as president of the NPC.

Duran, the 81st NPC president, reported that during his incumbency, he spearheaded several meaningful activities which included sports development, press seminars with prominent resource speakers from Manila, fellowship and a continuing educational and professional development programs, among others.

Toga on the other hand, who was NPC president for two terms (1974-75) and (1995-96), launched a journalism scholarship award in his first one-year-term in 1974 through the Aurelio Locsin Memorial Foundation, Inc. which extended mass communications scholarship grants to prospective journalists in the University of Negros Occ. - Recoletos (UNO-R), University of St. La Salle (USLS) and even Silliman University in Dumaguete City.

Some 100 student grantees, mostly children or dependents of practicing journalists in print and broadcast media successfully completed their four-year courses over a period of 10 years. One of the most successful of them was movie actor and director Joel Torre who finished his NPC scholarship grant at USLS Bacolod many years ago.

Several others are now active media practitioners in print and broadcast (radio and television) while the others are in some related professions both here and abroad.

The seed money for the scholarship program starting in 1974 was provided by the late former Ambassador and Philippine National Bank (PNB) President, Roberto Salas Benedicto who donated P50,000 to the NPC.

In his second term as NPC President in 1995, Toga received another donation this time P500,000 from the late former Senate President and Labor Secretary Blas F. Ople which was appropriated by the Club for the repair and rehabilitation of the Negros Press Club Media Center on San Juan Street, Bacolod City.*