Interpreting the world: The writer as public intellectual


(Keynote speech at the PEN Philippines Conference, December 6-7, 2012)

Founding Chairman Sionil Jose, Chairman Lumbera, Members Of The Board Of Directors Of Philippine PEN, Friends, Ladies And Gentlemen:

A COLLEAGUE at the University of the Philippines thinks the phrase public intellectual redundant, and wonders who may properly be called writers in the Philippine setting. It would seem then that a few definitions are in order.

But we all know who, or what, the writer is. He or she is a poet, an essayist and/or a novelist, as the initials and acronym of this organization suggest. But he or she is also the writer of the editorials and columns, the investigative and explanatory reports that are among the many forms journalism has developed in discharging its public task of describing and interpreting the human environments. In the digital age, the writer is also the blogger who makes it his concern to gather and provide information on issues of citizen concern and to comment on them online.

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Dismantling the culture of impunity


By Luis V. Teodoro
Professor of Journalism
College of Mass Communication
University of the Philippines

Member, Board of Advisers,
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

(This is a talk Prof. Teodoro delivered at the Press Freedom and Philippine Law Roundtable discussion sponsored by CMFR on December 5, 2006. The book Limited Protection: Press Freedom and Philippine Law, which Prof. Teodoro edited and in which he has an essay called “Understanding the Culture of Impunity” was launched.)

Dismantling the culture of impunity is not really as Quixotic as it sounds. Many of the steps needed to achieve that goal some media advocacy and journalists’ groups like the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the National Union of Journalists have already taken, the killing of journalists and consequent problems having validated to some extent these groups’ efforts– among them engaging the law community and addressing the professional and ethical issues that afflict Philippine journalism– in enhancing the responsible exercise of press freedom. Continue reading

Against Technicism


(Address delivered during the University of the Philippines
College of Mass Communication Commencement Exercises, April 24, 2005.)

If all roads once led to Rome, today all roads lead to the homeland of another empire–into the very belly of the beast itself.

Social Weather Stations tells us that more than a fifth of the population–20 percent, or some 16 million souls– want to leave the country in response to the brutal realities of economic need, in the desire to assure themselves a future staying in the country of their birth cannot give, or in a quest for order the chaos and violence of Philippine society cannot provide. Continue reading

Welcome remarks at the book launching of Jose Ma. Sison’s books


In behalf of co-sponsors Aklat ng Bayan Inc., Anak Pawis Party List, the All UP Academic Employees Union, CONTEND-UP and the Defend Sison Committee, I would like to welcome all of you to the launch of Jose Ma. Sison’s US Terrorism and War in the Philippines and the Pilipino version of Jose Ma. Sison and Juliet de Lima’s Politika at Ekonomya ng Pilipinas.

This launch is occurring nine days before the visit of US President George W. Bush to the Philippines, and on the same date when informal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front have resumed in Oslo, Norway.
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Journalist and teacher


Dean Armando J. Malay, who was a journalist for over 40 years, and who died last week at the age of 89, was one of the pioneering faculty members at the College of Mass Communication, then Institute of Mass Communication (IMC), of the University of the Philippines. In his May 16 to 18 wake at U.P., his former students, many of them now editors in the country’s leading newspapers, recalled how, together with the late Hernando J. Abaya and IP Soliongco, he shaped their development as journalists. Continue reading

Forgetting, or Not Knowing: Media and Martial Law

Ferdinand Marcos

I didn’t quite now how to do this paper. The martial law period is a personal matter to me. It is not only because I was imprisoned for seven months, from October 1972 to May 1973. It is also because of the many people I knew, some of them among the brightest and best sons and daughters of the Filipino people — students and poets, artists and doctors, teachers and lawyers, journalists and farmers, workers and small businessmen, nuns and priests, and plain citizens of their generation — who lost their lives, were separated from their loved ones, or suffered torture and other indignities during that brutal period.

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People’s issues and investigative journalism


My assignment this afternoon is investigative journalism and people’s issues. Everyone of us here knows what the standards of investigative journalism are, and are familiar with that form. I think what we need is a framework from which to appreciate what it can do for this country. I will therefore start with a review of journalism’s role in society, and more specifically its responsibility, or what I think should be its responsibility, in a society like ours–or to be more precise, in a society in perpetual crisis, where the most fundamental issues of governance, social justice and sovereignty have been begging for solutions for centuries. From there I hope I can go on to the subject assigned to me this afternoon.

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The bright light of selflessness


I first met Pete Daroy in 1961, or some 39 years ago, during the Collegian editorship of Leonardo Quisumbing, now a justice of the Supreme Court. Pete was Leo’s literary editor. I was features editor. Jose Ma. Sison was research editor. Pete was from a town in Samar which he insisted had never heard of salt, Joe from Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, and I from Manila. Pete was a perennial taker of the Collegian examinations, but never quite made it to editor. That didn’t stop him from being in the staff of several Collegian editors over a five-year period. Most of the Collegian editors then, not all, were liberal, which was what Pete was, initially.

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