CATEEL HOST BIGGEST CONFAB OF REGION’S YOUNG JOURNALISTS

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More than 3,500 delegates from Davao Region’s public and private schools have participated in the recent four-day 2016 Regional Schools Press Conference from January 6 to 9.

CATEEL, DAVAO ORIENTAL – This majestic town of Davao Oriental which is home to one of the country’s most beautiful waterfalls and which was once badly hit by super typhoon Pablo is a proud host to the region’s biggest gathering of young journalists.

For the first time, this once sleepy town have successfully hosted the four-day 2016 Regional Schools Press Conference from January 6 to 9.  Local government officials here says it was the biggest event so far in their municipality, and it was an opportunity for them to showcase its people’s resiliency after being hit by a monstrous typhoon more than three years ago. The event was also an opportune time for them to showcase their unique ecotourism destinations.

Many of the 3,500 delegates from Davao Region’s public and private schools were awed upon arriving in this town as they came to see the majestic Aliwagwag Waterfalls, touted to be the country’s most beautiful waterfalls.

Top officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) as well as the participants say that they were “very impressed” that a small town of Cateel once badly devastated by a typhoon has the capacity to hold an event of this scale.

For the first time, this once sleepy town have successfully hosted the four-day 2016 Regional Schools Press Conference from January 6 to 9.

For the first time, this once sleepy town have successfully hosted the four-day 2016 Regional Schools Press Conference from January 6 to 9.

DepEd Regional Director Atty. Alberto T. Escobarte lauded the Provincial Government as well as the Local Government of Cateel for their effort in the successful conduct of the conference that helped buoy the department’s bid in shaping young minds on responsible journalism and freedom of the press.

Cateel Mayor Camilo T. Nuñez referred this event as the New Year’s ‘big bang’ for his town, as it became a defining moment in highlighting Cateel’s potentials in terms of eco-tourism and investments and in showing its hospitality to the rest of the region and the country.

Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon said that this event is a big opportunity for her leadership to contribute in the growth of campus journalism and in honing the crafts of the young future journalists.

Meanwhile, she also said that the coming of the RSPC to Cateel is “very overwhelming” knowing that the town was one of the municipalities that was hard-hit by typhoon Pablo in December 2012.

Cateel Mayor Camilo Nuñez together with municipal officials during the RSPC opening program  held at the Cateel Centennial Park.

Cateel Mayor Camilo Nuñez together with municipal officials during the RSPC opening program held at the Cateel Centennial Park.

She enthused the students to write stories that will captivate human interest and inspire people such as Davao Oriental’s story of resilience and amazing recovery from the typhoon Pablo devastation. “We really have stories to tell such as our ‘Pablo’ experience, the resilience of our people and the political will and determination of our local officials to ‘Move on and Move Up’ (as our mantra goes) from the huge devastation. You can write about the transformation of our province – from a laid back province to a more or less relatively developed one. Or perhaps you can promote our province as the next tourist hub and tourist destination,” said the governor.

With Davao Oriental endowed with beautiful landscapes and seascapes that made the province a new eco-tourism hub, the governor also urged the participants to take advantage of their stay by visiting some of Davao Oriental’s exquisite eco-tourism destinations, parks, and museum.

Meanwhile, bannered with the theme: “The Role of the 21st Century Campus Journalists in Upholding Good Governance, Leadership and Transparency”, Governor Malanyaon told the student journalists of their power to change the world. “Events like this one gives me a reason to hope that our community, our province and our country can indeed change – because of you! And because of technology and how it amplifies your ideals and your power.”

(From L to R) Congressman Nelson L. Dayanghirang, Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon, Board Members Joselito Villademosa and Mario Jose Palma Gil during the opening of the RSPC in Cateel.

(From L to R) Congressman Nelson L. Dayanghirang, Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon, Board Members Joselito Villademosa and Mario Jose Palma Gil during the opening of the RSPC in Cateel.

“In an era where anyone can produce and disseminate news, what sets journalists apart from ordinary netizens? Everybody can be a journalist and tell a story. But not everybody can tell a story that is factual and true. Journalism is the discipline of verification. And you, the campus journalists, like the professional journalists, play a crucial role in separating facts from rumors.”

“You certainly play a big role in upholding good governance, leadership, and transparency. I really think that journalism is a calling – it tests you physically, mentally, spiritually. Not everyone has this. Then there is the courage of your convictions – speaking against injustice, abuse of power, taking a position based on principles. Journalism’s role is to hold account public personalities and institutions whose functions affect social and political life. You may serve as an advocate, as catalyst, as watchdogs, or critics of policies formulated by institutions or government.”

Jointly conducted by the Provincial Government and the Department of Education (DepEd), the 2016 RSPC became a full success through the support of the DepEd District Offices and the six municipalities in the province’s first district, namely: Boston, Cateel, Baganga, Caraga, Manay, and Tarragona. “They have made this a reality not only for the DepEd but also for the people of Cateel. This is the first biggest event that ever happened in this town,” she said.

Participating divisions in the 2016 RSPC are: Compostela Valley, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Digos City, IGACOS, Panabo City, Tagum City, Mati City, and the host province Davao Oriental.  By Karen Lou Deloso and Ferdinand Zuasola/Photos by Eden Jhan Licayan

 

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