Saturday, May 1, 2010

Look-see

The bad news is, good news isn’t news. Sadly, that’s the way it is. 90% of Baguio is allegedly landslide prone is news, but that Baguio has a not-so-bad-at-all 95% employment rate is not. A local tv crew has been hounding the relatives of a particular congressional candidate who happens to belong to a big prominent family because of rumors that his clan is not 100% behind his candidacy. Of course this news crew won’t show footages of one particular gathering where members of his clan showed up to reiterate their support for their candidate. They won’t even take footages in the first place. They would instead scour the city looking for that one kapamilya who could validate that rumor, at all cost, for that, my friend, is news.
The glass is either half-empty, or half-full. Never mind that the people are not informed of the real cause of our garbage crisis – a video clip or a photograph showing piles of uncollected garbage is enough to guarantee viewership or readership that of course results in higher advertising revenues. While agitating the people will only result in, well, agitation, educating the people as to what the real picture is can perhaps result in a better-informed populace who can now do their part in helping the city get over this crisis.

Don’t get me wrong, I myself have been a critic of so many things – from the rape of Session Road during Panagbenga to, yes, even the garbage issue. I am not a journalist, but I do believe that those who in the mass communication business have a responsibility to present the whole truth. Whether one is a news anchor or a news cameraman, whether you’re a two-bit columnist such as me or an editor-in-chief, whether you write for the city’s most read paper or a blogger.

Given what we are being fed by television, newspapers, radio and the internet, one can’t help but wonder why the population of Baguio keeps on growing. Why new businesses keep on opening up. Why tourists keep on coming. Think about it, why come to a city where they say nothing’s being done about the garbage problem, or where the traffic situation is unbearable, or where the pollution is at its worse, where the tourist attractions are dilapidated, or where the incidence of crime is horribly high? A lot of people claim to love Baguio, let’s do this for the love of Baguio, they always say, and then proceed to paint an ugly picture of the city for the whole world to see.

While we need to let the people know of the city’s problems, we also need to let them know of the good things about it. While there are times when showing the people how bad certain things are, we also need to let them know that there’s hope. The headlines seem to want us to believe that all’s lost, it’s hopeless. I don’t think so.

It’s true, there’s Session Road in Bloom where for a week Session Road is turned into an epitome of crass commercialism, and there’s Earth Day where it’s left to breathe and meditate quietly and beautifully. There are lip-synched pseudo-theater performances, and there are plays staged by local legitimate artists. We do have a garbage problem, but there are a lot of things that we as citizens can also do to ease the burden and help the government solve it. 95% of us are employed. We were spared even a single death during the last Dengue season. The damage that Ondoy and Pepeng wreaked in Baguio wasn’t as bad as in other places (considering that according to a local news report, 90% of the city is landslide-prone). El Niño’s here, but a gentle shower’s blessing the City of Pines as I write this.

We do see what we want to see, let’s look at things properly, and see the real picture.

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