To show that the country recognizes and respects freedom of the press as enshrined in the Constitution, two senators have proposed that August 30 of every year be declared as “National Responsible Press Freedom Day.”

Senators Win Gatchalian and Bam Aquino, filed their respective bills recently and both have chosen that the birth date of the father of Philippine journalism and one of the country’s heroes, Marcelo H. del Pilar, be observed and celebrated yearly as press freedom day.

Both Aquino and Gatchalian, in filing Senate Bill Nos. 2040 and 2042, respectively, were in unison in recognizing the “Great Propagandist” and “Mastermind of the Filipino Revolution” as the embodiment of press freedom in the country.

“‘The Great Propagandist’ and ‘Mastermind of Filipino Revolution’ is the embodiment of press freedom in the country.”

The provision on press freedom in Section 4, Article III of the Bill of Rights, not only includes the right to speak and write but also the right to be protected from threats, intimidation and violence, Gatchalian said.

“If favorably passed into law, it will remind us of the patriotic deeds of Del Pilar and inspire people to emulate his example of selfless service, exceptional courage and leadership that gave hope to our Motherland during a critical time in our country’s history,” the legislator said.

“The Marcelo H. Del Pilar National Press Freedom Day will also heighten awareness about press freedom so that the people of the press will not be afraid to report matters of public interest no matter whom or what interest gets hurt in the process,” the lawmaker added.

“The Marcelo H. del Pilar National Press Freedom Day will also heighten awareness about press freedom.”

For his part, Aquino said such a declaration will serve as a “reminder for all of us that in times of repression, one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal is our voice, as proven by his example.”

“A fearless, free and objective press is especially important during these times fraught with alternative facts and misinformation,” said Aquino.

An advocate for equal opportunity, representation and freedom, Del Pilar, a prolific writer from Bulacan who wrote under the pen name “Plaridel,” sought to increase awareness about the plight of Filipinos during the Spanish colonial period through journalism.

To ensure the meaningful observance of the proposed “National Responsible Press Freedom Day,” the two senators urged the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in coordination with the Office of the President, government and private media organizations to 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.



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