The Jaime V. Ongpin Journalism Awards

According to Ms. Maribel Ongpin’s closing speech, it takes sacrifice, courage and even, low salary working as a journalist. She encouraged the students, and the present journalists and guests to have a constant examination in the society to know the truth. It is for what Jaime V. Ongpin known for despite of not being a journalist. Jaime V. Ongpin was just showing concern to the society and he did not let the press to be suppressed during the Martial Law in the Philippines. This was how the seminar ended.

The 17th Jaime V. Ongpin Journalism Seminar (JVOJS) was attended by special guests, senior journalists, faculty members, and journalism and communication students from 15 universities and colleges in the Philippines. It was for the first time that the seminar was joined by a number of different universities and colleges such as De La Salle University, Centro Escolar University, Far Eastern University and of course, University of the Philippines to name the few. The seminar was led by Melinda Quintos de Jesus of Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), where the JVOJS is one of their flagship programs.

The seminar aimed to discuss one of the most significant and pressing issue today and that was corruption. The panelists, who were answered some questions from the CMFR and students, were Jiggy Manicad (GMA Network); Malou Mangahas (PCIJ); Lynda Jumilla (ABS-CBN, Inc.), who was the 2012 Marshall McLuhan Fellow announced in the part of the program ;Dana Batnag (Jiji Press); Carla Gomez (The Visayan Daily Star); and Carol Arguillas (The Minda News). They were also the year’s Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism awardees.

The panelists deliberated corruption based on the facts and on their personal experiences working in the field. Malou Mangahas said, “Proving corruption is very difficult.” It was aside from the fact that government officials were very “sophisticated in hiding”. She added that certitude is important as a value when doing some research and finding documents. The panelists suggested that for a journalist or reporter to have a “nose” in corruption, he must do a lifestyle checking and talk to the people seeing a certain official. There must also be no conflict of interest when doing corruption reporting. The panelists also keep on repeating the transparency, accountability, and without bias in reporting. It is despite from the fact that it is hard to “separate your opinions from facts”, as what Dana Batnag said.

It was sad to hear that some of the panelists received death threats or any kind of threats working as a journalist. But they did not end their work just because of it. According to Carol Arguillas, “citizens are important.” They must know everything. And passing the FOI bill will lead to a more comprehensive fact finding, as what Malou Mangahas said.

     “Journalism is a dangerous profession. Responsibility can be our best protection.”

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