PRESS-ed for the tough times?
I wouldn’t dare to count how many stories we have encountered in a month on the communist insurgency in the region. We have heard stories of the NPA burning equipment, etc and the military having killed a nine-year old girl believed to be a child soldier of the rebels.
It is beginning to become a disturbing scenario. Hostilities have peaked when the NPA raided the Davao Prison and Penal Colony (DPPF or Dapecol) on Easter Sunday. Now the military has scaled up their operations and started launching rockets from OV-10s in Man-ay, Panabo City where the raiders reportedly sought cover.
This has triggered evacuations of hundreds of residents to downtown Panabo City.
In all of these events, the media is pushed to the wall on picking up the pieces of truth from propaganda coming from the military and sectors linked to the NPA.
It is evident that ground-truthing is non-negotiable but also a risky imperative for the press covering the war between the government and the rebels.
Who will we believe? Who gets the greatest effect of the bombardments?
One focal issue here is that the military’s Oplan Bantay Laya (Guarding for Freedom) spells an all-out war. There is no peace process involved which makes it more dangerous for coverage.
Maybe it counts if the military could be more sincere to the public and to the press. Maybe the media could go beyond receiving propaganda feeds.