SENATE Minority Leader, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel lll lauded the achievements of the Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI) and cited a recently-passed law which recognizes ‘publishing and printing media’ as one of the domains in the Creative Industries Development Act.
The senator was one of the special guests at PAPI’s 2023 Midyear Executive Session held at the Makati Sports Club on June 24. The occasion coincided with the association chairman emeritus, Johnny Dayang’s birthday.
“Freedom of the press is a fundamental right here in our beloved country. We can never allow for print to be dead,” the senator told PAPI members headed by its national president, Nelson Santos.
The Senate recently passed the Creative Industries Development Act which Pimentel himself, authored and championed in the upper House of Congress. “Under this law, RA No. 11904, we are recognizing nine creative domains and it may interest you to know that the ‘publishing and printed media domain’ is a recognized creative domain. Newspaper articles are journalistic literature,” the senator said.
Further, Pimentel cited Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution that says “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
He recalled the late Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, a Jesuit priest, lawyer, college professor and writer who was Dean Emeritus of the Ateneo de Manila Law School, was a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission which drafted the 1987 Philippine Constitution, amended a section that says “The right of the people to enjoy freedom of speech and press and to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances shall not be abridged.”
Pimentel explained that Fr. Bernas pointed out, that by specifying ‘people,’ it would limit the scope of the protection to natural persons, thus leaving corporate entities, like publishing companies, unprotected.
“I will help you and do whatever I can to contribute to the protection and promotion of the newspaper publishing industry and to news reporting as a whole,” Pimentel said.
“As the minority leader in the Senate, I am the designated ‘critic’ of the majority in the Senate. I need you, for me to be able to perform, competently and credibly, this constitutional duty as Senate Minority Leader,” the senator told the publishers, editors, and reporters of national, regional, and provincial newspapers, present at the occasion.
Other event guests among others, were Judge Judge Flordeliz Cabanlit Fargas of RTC Trece.
In the same occasion, Dayang also launched his book while PAPI members from 1970-1980, Outstanding Court Sheriff 2023 Ms. Joannah Avigail Timkang of RTC Trece Martires and former president and House deputy speaker, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were honored.
Santos thanked all those who attended the momentous event. (Nelson Santos)