(Statement of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club on the media coverage set-up at the presidential debate at Capitol University yesterday. This statement was released two days before the conduct of the first of three presidential debates.)
THE Cagayan de Oro Press Club Inc. thanks the Manila-based organizers of the “PiliPinas Debate 2016” for giving the local press community 25 slots, 13 of which were allotted for its members as “observers,” in the actual debate venue. We will attend the presidential debate.
We, however, are still saddened knowing full well that our wings are going to be clipped. It will be like deploying soldiers without guns to war.
To put it bluntly, the environment in Sunday’s debate will be “harsh” and very unfriendly to usual media coverage.
We maintain and reiterate our stand that there should never be a monopoly in the media coverage of a presidential debate, and that government must ensure that such national event will be equally covered by mass media. Neither should it be used for corporate grandstanding–the event is far too important for the Filipino electorate to be hostaged by corporate interests.
Further, we express our indignation over the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to let private interests overshadow what should have been its mandate under Constitution. It is clearly a surrender of its constitutional mandate to corporate interests.
Many of us will try to adapt to this strange environment, observe, and cover the presidential debate the best way we can–while in protest.–Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC)