When Rodrigo Duterte won the presidency, many Filipinos, especially from the poor sector, had high hopes of poverty alleviation as soon as President “Digong” took office. Arguably the most popular president, Digong has uttered sweet words and bold promises during his campaign. The new president’s charisma and sense of “pagiging makamasa” won the hearts many of those who believed in his promises.
One year has passed and the president has narrated his first State of the Nation Address; yet despite the strong support from various sectors of the country, conflicts and paradoxes remain to be the hallmark of his administration.
Since President Duterte sat as president of the country, mass media have quite an interesting job of embodying the watchdog function against the government.
The regime has been confronted with so many issues on violence such as Human Rights Violations (HRVs), police brutality (since he waged his war on drugs), insurgency and threats to national security.
At the forefront of this attack against the president is the war on drugs, which has claimed an estimated 7,000 lives and dubbed as anti-poor.
The appointment of progressive leaders like Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo could have been the most welcome change for the people. However, last, Aug. 16, 2017, the Commission on Appointments (CA) rejected the appointment of Taguiwalo. It also came to a shocker when former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez who staunchly criticized big mining companies and closed illegal mines in the country was rejected by CA.
The president was also condemned by many when he allowed the burial of late President Ferdinand Marcos in the “Libingan ng mga Bayani.”
Moroever, the president is now faced with a pressing issue that needs immediate remedy–the issue on insurgency and terrorism. Three months ago since terrorist the ISIS-inspired Maute group waged war in Marawi, around 600 lives have been lost. Worse, the war continues to rage. Amid this dilemma, President Duterte decided to declare Martial Law in Mindanao.
In this unsettling situation of our country, the Weekly Sillimanian reaffirms its vital role in continuously telling the truth and siding with the marginalized. As microcosm of the ideal of the press as watchdog of power, tWS remains to be faithful to its responsibility reporters and commentators in a society marred by inequality and injustice. We believe that in pursuit of what is right, our most potent weapon is the truth.
The Weekly Sillimanian is the training ground for us, budding journalists. It prepares us for the real deal in future journalism work. Hence, it is but vital that as early as college, we practice truthful reporting and standing up for the marginalized.
Yet, Silliman’s official campus press recognizes the challenges it continues to face.
As we put out this 8th issue and we continue to face the challenges of poor printing quality, undermanned publication staff, inadequate equipment, and lack of training.
The biggest challenge of them all is confronting the weekly demands of our press work while resisting pressures to silence the students’ voices.