By Joey Natividad and Angel Ayala
SORSOGON CITY, 16Jan2016 (BicolToday.com) – Campus journalism gets a big push forward when Sorsogon lawmaker Evie Escudero (1st District) co-authored a House bill declaring July 25 of every year as “Campus Press Freedom Day.”
According to Representative Escudero, July 25 is deeply significant since the date is the founding anniversary of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the oldest school-based organization of journalists in Asia.
“I’m also in support of House Bill 1493 which will give more meaning to campus journalism and campus press freedom. Hopefully, this bill will address the loopholes and deficiencies that have rendered RA 7079 difficult in its implementation,” said Representative Escudero, the mother of vice-presidential aspirant Chiz Escudero.
Representative Escudero spoke Thursday night before a large gathering of campus journalists during the awarding ceremony of Bicol regional Press Conference, attended by student journalists coming from schools in the Bicol provinces.
More than 2,600 students and teachers participated in the regional campus journalism event that was held in Sorsogon National High School, this city. (See related news link: Sorsogon City Schools Division hosts Regional Campus Journalism Confab).
The lawmaker acknowledged some of the people who made the regional conference successful.
These are: new city schools division superintendent, Dr. Nimfa Guemo; Dr. Haydee Bolivar, regional chief of Curriculum Management Division; Ms. Joan Lagata, Regional Program Supervisor for Campus Journalism; Dr. Fely Dellosa, Chief of School Governance Division; and host principal Dr. Tess Duazo.
She lauded the Department of Education Regional Office for choosing Sorsogon City, particularly the Sorsogon National High School, as host of this year’s regional campus journalism congress.
Representative Escudero said that when Congress enacted Republic Act 7079, or the Campus Journalism Act of 1991, it was done not out of flimsy reasons, but it was anchored on the desire to strengthen our democratic rights and principles more particularly the people’s freedom of expression.
She continued: “Such intention is well enunciated in Section 2 of the law which declares that the State upholds and protects the people’s right to press freedom.
More specifically, it provides a significant space for the students to consciously exercise such independence in a manner that strengthens ethical values, encourages critical and creative thinking, and develops in them the moral character and personal discipline necessary for their well-being as up right citizens of this country.”
She added: “It allows the students to speak out their minds and voice their opinions without fear of censorship or reprimand. That way, they are able to see things in their own light and take actions based on such understanding.”
She reminded the student delegates that many big names in the country were products of campus journalism.
“The likes of Ex-Congressman Homobono Adaza, former House Speaker Ramon V. Mitra, ex- Supreme Court Justice Leonardo Quisimbing, UP Dean Luis Teodoro, Ex-COMELEC Commissioner Abraham Sarmiento Jr., Malou Mangahas of PCIJ, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Helena Z. Benitez, Rolando Tolentino, Ex-Congressman Satur Ocampo and DZRH broadcaster Joe Taruc are just some of them,” the lawmaker reminded the young campus journalists.
She congratulated the winners, and the people who had made the journalism congress successful. [BicolToday.com]