By Jun Duterte
Davao Communicators Guild
One of the most gripping human emotion is fear. Fear immobilizes, fear neutralizes, fear corrodes human goodwill and creativity, fear sends shivers to the heart, clouds our judgement and in the process derails the independence of our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions and even of our will.

It is against this social backdrop that we, media practitioners in Davao from all walks of life and backgrounds have collectively decided to come to the forefront today-in the form of a protest march and rally-irrespective of our professional differences because there is a greater national concern that stares us in the face right now: the threats brought about by Proclamation 1017.

While we hear of reports that presumably 1017 might be lifted anytime, this is not consolation enough for us because the threats to free expression and our right to think and speak as freemen do in a free society remain unresolved.

Lifted or not, we have bravely decided to show our indignation over what we perceive to be a clear and present danger to the independence of media in a society that claims to be democratic and republican.

If freedom and civil liberties as exemplified by media remain to be the hallmarks of a genuine democracy, then it follows that any man or woman media practitioner worth his or her salt must stand now and assert this right.

We hold it dear in our heart the constitutional provisions that guarantees freedom of expression and thought, freedoms that are so vital in the decisions and choices we make as a free nation and as a people.

Article 3 section 4 of the Constitution is the center, the heartbeat of this freedom of ours: 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. This we hold sacred in our hearts today.

Having said all these, we join the rest of the media community today in protesting any and all attempts to curtail our fundamental rights.

We shall not be cowed. We shall not fear.

March 3, 2006

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