Veteran journo reminds fellows to unite to protect rights and welfare

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CITY OF MALOLOS—Central Luzon journalists were reminded that unity is key in protecting their rights and welfare while performing their duties as members of the fourth estate and also being the partner of the government in community building.

Cesar “Bong” Lacson, editor-in-chief of Punto Central Luzon based in Pampanga who was the founding proponent of the Central Luzon Media Association (CLMA) gave the message as guest of honor and speaker during Friday’s celebration of the group’s 44th year founding anniversary held at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here.

Lacson reminisced the old days in 1978 when the CLMA was founded on the core principle that its members in the whole of the region would look after each other in protecting their rights and their welfare while also contributing for the betterment of the government and the society.

He said it was then former regional Department of Public Information (DPI) Director Ricardo V. Serrano who sought his idea on how the journos in the region can all be gathered to unite as one.  

Then 24 years old and has just completed his studies in Organization Development at the Development Academy of the Philippines and was then the chief of research, training, and development division of the DPI, Lacson suggested the creation of the CLMA.

Veteran broadcast media officer and Ricardo V. Serrano Leadership awardee former Central Luzon Media Association (CLMA) President Francis Cardona receives a Plaque of Recognition from Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and editor-in-chief of News Core and the current president of the CLMA (far right) for his continued guidance and support to the organization. Joining them from left is his younger brother Gerry Cardona, also former president of the CLMA, Mel Ciriaco, Immediate Past President, Neth Lagasca-Carlos, Chairman of the Council of Leaders, co-awardee CLMA Founding Proponent Bong Lacson and Alma Ochotorena, Council of Leaders Member and current Ombudsman during the organization’s 44th year founding anniversary celebration and Christmas Party held on Friday in City of Malolos. Photo by Anton Luis Reyes Catindig 

He said just like many media groups and organization, its officers and members experienced harassment while in the performance of their duties while on the other hand have become partners of the government towards nation building.  

“One of the main rationales in the founding of the CLMA was to protect the press freedom rights of its members through unity. This is based on the old saying that, ‘the pain in the pinky is felt all over the body,” (Isa sa mga pangunahing dahilan sa pagbuo ng CLMA ay ang protektahin ang karapatan sa malayang pamamahayag – ito ay sa pamamagitan ng pagbigkis-bigkis ng mga indibidwal sa isang samahan – in union there is strength, saad nga ng kawikaan. Ang diwa ng ugnayan na umusbong sa mismong pagsilang ng CLMA ay ang kawikaang Tagalog: Sakit ng kalingkingan, ramdam ng buong katawan), he said in his speech.

“But on the other side, the CLMA has become the partner of the government not only in informing the people of its programs and developments but also in exposing the ills, evils, shortcoming and corruption in the government,” (Sa kabilang banda, naging kasangga ng pamahalaan ang CLMA hindi lamang sa mga paglalahad ng mga programang pangkaunlaran nito kundi sa pagsisiwalat rin sa mga kalabisan, kakulangan, at korupsyon sa mga sangay ng gubyerno), he also said.

Lacson also acknowledges the differences, issues between members of the CLMA as there had really been conflicts in many occasions but which have been settled and or have eventually subsided over the years.

“Just like any other organization, there had also been issues between members of the CLMA. There was a time that a brawl happened between members in Pampanga and during an election in Olongapo. But, in the end, unity prevailed. For me, there is no any obstacle that we cannot overcome, no misunderstanding that we cannot surpass as long as we have a strong unity. For a strong unity to be achieved, everyone, be a plain member or officer should have an equal right, free to express himself, no vested interest or other agenda than for the good of the organization,” (Gaya ng anumang samahan, hindi rin nawala ang sigalot, bangayan, awayan sa CLMA. Sa katunayan nagkaroon pa nga ng mga suntukan sa isang induction ceremonies sa San Fernando, at sa isang eleksyon ng mga officers sa Olongapo.  Subali’t, sa bawat hidwaan, nanaig pa rin ang higpit ng samahan. Sa aking pananaw, walang anumang balakid na hindi natin malalagpasan, walang di-pagkakaunawaan na hindi natin malunasan basta matibay ang ating samahan.  Sa matibay na samahan, ang bawat isa, may posisyon mang hinahawakan o karaniwang kasapi lamang, ay pantay ang karapatan, malaya sa paghayag ng saloobin, walang kimkim na anumang agenda liban sa kapakanan ng samahan at bawa’t kasama dito), he also said.

Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Correspondent who is the current president of the CLMA awarded Lacson with a “Plaque of Recognition” being the Founding Proponent of the CLMA and his continuous presence and guidance behind the leadership of current administrations.  

Estrope’s major program is to provide Social Security System (SSS) insurance and PhilHealth membership to still non-members from the CLMA.

Gov. Daniel Fernando, Vice Gov. Alex Castro and other Bulacan officials and some private media friends helped sponsor the event that was held at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this capital city.

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