McLuhan Prize-Winning Journalist Laments Low Awareness About Bangsamoro Law
“Is it easier to report on war than to report on peace?”
This was the question posed by Mr. Joseph Morong, GMA Network senior reporter and recipient of the 2015 McLuhan Prize of the Embassy of Canada, in his talk last March 11 at the Multipurpose Room of the Instruction Media and Technology Center.
Mr. Morong delved on communicating and spreading awareness about the Bangsamoro people and their rights to an audience composed of local media practitioners and Silliman students enrolled in the Mass Communication, Political Science and Foreign Affairs programs.
With over 15 years of experience in media, Mr. Morong was among frontline journalists who covered developments around the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
He highlighted the significant role of media in imparting the primary message of peace, which, in essence, he said, is the ability to live life meaningfully with justice and equity. With the conflict and insurgency in Mindanao, he emphasized the question on the BBL’s effectiveness in ushering in a new era of peace throughout the country.
He then directed his focus on the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), being the region greatly affected by the insurgency problem. Because of the ongoing conflict, people in ARMM are deprived of living a peaceful life, children cannot go to school, and many families live in dire poverty. ARMM currently has the highest poverty incidence in the country.
But, despite what is happening in ARMM, Mr. Morong lamented: “The public does not seem to care.”
He presented statistics that point to the low level of awareness that Filipinos have regarding the BBL. Surveys show that only a mere 3 per cent of Filipinos have extensive knowledge of the BBL, while a staggering 37 per cent know nothing about it.
It is because of this that Mr. Morong stressed the critical role of media in increasing public awareness and, in the process, conveying in a responsible and innovative approach the message of peace to the people.
History and Political Science Department faculty Asst. Prof. Victor H. Emmanuel Enario and Prof. Carlos P. Magtolis Jr. served as reactors of the said forum.
Together with Mr. Morong was the Political Affairs Officer of the Embassy of Canada, Mr. Carlo Figueroa.
Every year, the Embassy brings to Silliman the recipient of its annual Marshall McLuhan Prize. The Prize is a tribute to Herbert Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian educator, philosopher, literary critic and communication theorist whose works are viewed as “cornerstones of the study of media and journalism theories”.