By Francis Allan L. Angelo
Some of our colleagues in the media expressed concern with the shabby treatment Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo experienced during Dinagyang 2020 Festival. The MBC-owned station was excluded from covering the festival at the main performance area, Freedom Grandstand.
They did not attend meetings called by the publicity committee headed by Mr. Rogelio Florete Sr. of Bombo Radyo at their Ma. Clara office.
Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo headed by Station Manager John Paul Tia said they were willing to attend the meetings but not at Bombo Radyo Holdings office for very obvious reasons. Other news organizations also attended the meetings but I don’t think it is right to withhold the accreditation of Aksyon Radyo for such flimsy reason.
If that was the intention of the committee, it should have declined the application of Aksyon Radyo early on. While they were able to cover the festival in Stage No. 2, we received information that the committee also attempted to bar them from doing so on Jan 26, 2020.
I am yielding my space to the unity statement that some of our colleagues have signed, and I hope that the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. will settle this matter.
Unity statement on IFFI’s decision to bar Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo
from covering the Dinagyang 360 performance on Jan 26, 2020.
The Iloilo media community has always been an active partner of the community in promoting the Dinagyang festival since its inception. Whether or not we are involved or invited to help organize and trumpet the festival, the media will still do its share because we believe in the concept of shared responsibility in community building.
We understand that the IFFI and its working committees have delegated powers and specific duties in ensuring the success of Dinagyang 2020.
But what we cannot accept is the decision of the publicity committee to ostracize or exclude Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo from covering the Dinagyang 360 performance at Freedom Grandstand for the flimsy reason that it refused or did not attend meetings called by Mr. Rogelio Florete Sr. of Bombo Radyo.
Yes, the publicity committee has the power to refuse the accreditation of organizations and persons who want to cover the festival but we believe that there must be a sensible reason for such action, not because of injured pride.
We recognize the fact that accreditation is a privilege and not a right, however, void of any compelling reason identified by the foundation prior to any exclusion of a media entity, the refusal is smack with dictatorial tendencies.
Here are questions that the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc should address:
- Why appoint Mr. Florete to the publicity committee despite the fact that he owns a media organization which will always be a contentious matter for other news outfits?
- The foundation and its committees exist for the sake of Dinagyang, the people’s festival. Why allow Mr. Florete to summon media organizations to his media holdings office in Ma. Clara? Why not hold the meetings at City Hall or other neutral areas?
- Why is the IFFI board afraid to intervene or overturn the decision of the publicity committee which owes its existence to the board? Is the rest of the foundation membership afraid of one person or organization?
The IFFI must answer these questions to avoid impressions that it’s still politics as usual in Dinagyang, the very same reason why it was created and replaced the previous organizer. Worse, IFFI will also handle other major festivals in the city and we are afraid that what happened to Aksyon Radyo during Dinagyang will not be the last.
It is also deplorable to note that the president of IFFI, who was once a media practitioner, cannot stand for the institution where he once gained prominence and following.
The decision to exclude Aksyon Radyo sans sensible reasons leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It’s whimsical and does not fit the slogan that #WeAreDinagyang.