BATANG MINDANAW: For Jiggy Manicad

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ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 1 February) – Sir, the guy I used to date in high school became an orphan at age 9 because his parents, journalists like YOU were, got shot in broad daylight by unidentified riding-in-tandem assailants. They were on their way home to be with their children.

My father is also a journalist. He’s almost 60. I know he already wants to retire but is holding on because I’m still in college and in need of financial support. I bet he’s already thinking about my law school tuition. And so the hustle continues.

He has lost colleagues in the line of duty, too. Does Gene Boyd Lumawag ring a bell? I never met him but I remember as a little girl seeing my father periodically wearing a shirt with his (Gene Boyd’s) name and photo printed on it. Unsolicited detail but the photo was Gene Boyd’s shot of a boy silhouetted against a beautiful, vibrant sunset. I wonder if that was his last.

My dad was constantly in and out of Marawi during the siege. I am agnostic but every time he travels for a dangerous assignment like that I am almost tempted to believe in the existence of a supreme being, and that he/she would be kind enough to bring my father home.

I know a lot of people are losing faith in the press because of the proliferation of fake news and the rise of partisan media companies, but there still remain journalists with integrity who genuinely want to let the masses be informed and critical. Apparently you no longer belong to that kind.

There’s nothing wrong with switching careers but switching your principles and betraying everything you and your fellow journalists are supposed to stand for is just sad and low. It’s not like you have amnesia.

It wasn’t so long ago when you were still actively a journalist. Surely you’ve seen the reports and statistics of journalists being attacked, incarcerated, and killed for exposing or at least attempting to expose the truth.

You could have used your newfound platform to promote and protect press freedom but you’re becoming a sellout instead. I hope you spectacularly lose the elections and realize that trading your principles for political ambition isn’t worth the shit.

(Alexandria M. Mordeno, 19, is a senior Political Science student at Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology. She’s currently writing a dissertation on the role of women in the crafting of the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.)

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