Partnership between advocates of Responsible Mining and Responsible Journalism
The Zamboanga del Norte Press Club, Inc. (ZNPCI) has formally launched its 2006 Campus Journalism Seminar-Workshop, with TVI Resource Development Phils., Inc. (TVIRD), the provincial government, and the Department of Education (Dep Ed) as partners. TVIRD thus becomes the first major corporate sponsor of the program since it was first held 39 years ago. The much-awaited annual activity seeks to promote responsible journalism among the best and the brightest public and private high school students – selected by their respective schools – in the province’s 25 municipalities and two cities, and to identify promising journalists among these students.
Dr. Sharif Adzhar Sarahadil, Provincial Schools Division Superintendent of the Dep Ed, applauded ZNPC for conducting the Seminar-Workshop without fail for nearly four decades now despite the many difficulties of bringing the program to the province’s far-flung rural areas, including Conflict and Post-conflict zones in strife-torn Mindanao. He also thanked TVIRD for supporting the activity, adding that the promotion of education indeed requires a many-hands approach for it to be effective.
Rocky Dimaculangan, TVIRD Director for Public Affairs, said education is one of the main programs under the company’s Social Commitment Initiatives at Canatuan, site of its mining operations in Siocon town. He mentioned that TVIRD has built a total of five classrooms, including the new Siocon National High School Annex; hired additional elementary school teachers; and put up a day care center for children of Subanon indigenous people, the ancestral domain titleholders in Canatuan. He added that TVIRD has likewise conducted literacy programs for adult IPs.
Dimaculangan recounted that ZNPC officers were initially reluctant to forge a partnership with TVIRD on account of the strong anti-mining lobby by non-government organizations based in Dipolog City, the provincial capital. But after visiting the Canatuan Project and seeing for themselves the company’s socio-economic and environmental protection initiatives for the host Subanon IPs in their homeland, the Club was convinced that TVIRD has been conducting itself as a responsible miner and, therefore, worthy of being a partner.
“We saw things different from the ones we heard (about TVIRD),” ZNPC President Anastacio Junio, Jr. said after the mine tour. “We have seen the whole truth concerning the issues raised against the company.”
At the Seminar-Workshop launching, Junio cited TVIRD’s slogan – “Our doors are open. This Mine is Yours” – referring to the company’s transparency efforts as part of its commitment to responsible mining. For its part, ZNPC, he said, “is committed to work for a responsible press; a partner in community, unity, and progress.”
ZNPC launched in 1967 an Annual Essay-Writing Contest for high school writers in observance of the National Press Week. The one-day activity in Dipolog has evolved into a full-blown two-day Annual Campus Journalism Seminar-Workshop that has served thousands of budding campus journalists all over the province. Participation in the project is free of charge; the Club collects no fees from the students.
The essay-writing competition has been replaced by competitions that follow after every lecture in news writing, editorial writing, feature writing, sports writing, layout, headline writing, copy proofing and editing, photo journalism and editorial cartooning, both in English and Filipino categories. Broadcasting has been added to the lectures, run by Club officers and members themselves, to introduce the students to the workings of the electronic media. Libel laws, too, are explained to emphasize responsibility in the exercise of press freedom. Often in need of funding, the Club has gone out of its way to reach out to remote towns in the southernmost portions of the province like Siocon and adjacent Sirawai, conducting as many as 10 seminars every year in the clustered towns and cities.
This year, TVIRD has committed to provide cash prizes and trophies to winning students in all of the nine Seminar-Workshop clusters.
ZNPC, established in 1965, is the biggest and oldest media organization in the Philippines’ Region 9. Among the Club’s prominent past presidents are incumbent provincial 2nd district Congressman Roseller Barinaga and former Governor Isagani Amatong.