Presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao has warned of a foreboding disaster on the country’s democracy as he urged the media to resist all efforts to curtail press freedom.
Pacquiao made this statement to the media shortly before leading a wreath-laying ceremony organized by Cagayan De Oro Press Club at the Press Freedom Monument in Cagayan de Oro City Saturday in time for Monday’s World Press Freedom Day.
According to Pacquiao, the freedom of the press in the face of the country’s democracy and the fourth estate must do everything to protect this.
“IItong Press freedom monument, ito ay simbolo ng demokrasya natin. Yung mga media natin malayang makapagpahayag at dito natin makikita na ang ating ini-exercise ang demokrasya natin,” Pacquiao told media.
Pacquiao said that if elected as president, he will make sure that the media will have more liberal access to information. He said that the media are assured of transparency and accountability under his administration.
He warned that this early, there are already signs that some candidates are hostile to the media and have no qualms about stopping the working to do their job.
“Ayaw nating maulit pa yung panahon na walang press freedom at lahat naiipit at maraming namamatay,” Pacquiao said.
“ Sa ngayon ang daming mga mamayahag na napapaslang. Pagdating ng panahon sisiguraduhin natin na pwede silang proteksyunan ng gobyerno dahil sila ang simbolo ng demokrasya ng bansa. Ang press freedom ay kailangan natin na suportahan,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao lamented that many Filipinos fall prey to fake news peddlers because the mainstream media are not getting enough access to factual and truthful information.
Pacquiao also expressed alarm over the refusal of certain candidates to submit themselves to public scrutiny through public debates, no-holds-barred media interviews, and public fora. He said the candidates have the obligation to answer issues so that the electorate can have an informed choice when they vote.
Although they have the right to refuse public scrutiny, their actions are clear and undeniable signs that these candidates know no accountability and are inclined to suppress press freedom just like during the dark days of Martial Law.
“Makikita niyo yung ugali ng isang kandidato na kunhg ito ay may magandang intensyon o hindi. Unang-una kung maganda ang intenstyon mo, open kang ihayag lahat ang plataporma mo, ihayag ang mga plano mo,. Pero kung hindi maganda ang intensyon mo syempre may itatago ka, iiwas ka sa mga tanong, “ Pacquiao pointed out.
“ Ako nga na minamaliit, sinasabi nilang walang alam pero maraming sinasabi na plataporma. Maraming sinasabi na plano para sa ating gobyerno,” he added.| (pr)