Voting 210-0, the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading House Bill 6922, declaring August 30 of every year as “National Press Freedom Day“ in honor of Marcelo H. Del Pilar, the father of Philippine Journalism, who wrote under the pen name “Plaridel.”
The bill mandates all government agencies and instrumentalities, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), local government units (LGUs), as well as the private sector to afford sufficient time and opportunity for their employees to engage and participate in any related activity to be conducted in the premises of their respective offices or establishments.
The Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), in consultation with the Office of the President, government and private media organizations shall lead public and private schools at all levels in organizing consciousness-raising activities on the importance of the press, their rights and social responsibilities, and the elimination of all forms of violence against the press.
The Philippines recognizes and respects freedom of the press.
Del Pilar was born on Aug. 30, 1850. According to the bill’s author, Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan), declaring August 30 of every year as “National Press Freedom Day” will show to the world that the Philippines recognizes and respects freedom of the press, as enshrined in Section 4, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution.
The declaration will also remind the people of the patriotic deeds of Del Pilar and inspire them to emulate his examples of selfless service, exceptional courage and leadership that gave hope to the Philippines during a critical time in its history.
Del Pilar, the most famous journalist in the country’s history, founded the Diariong Tagalog, which he used to expose the atrocities and excesses committed by the Spanish friars against the Filipinos.
He became one of the leaders of the Philippine Propaganda Movement. He served as editor-in-chief of La Solidaridad, the newspaper of the Filipino propagandists, who initially wanted the Philippines to become a province of Spain and the citizens to be treated equally as those in the mainland.