Ref. Paul M. Gutierrez
February 7, 2018

Cites strong leadership of Speaker Alvarez, efforts by Rep. Sy-Alvarado

THE National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC), the country’s oldest and largest organization of active members of the press, lauded the House of Representatives headed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and, Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado of Bulacan, for the “unanimous” passage of House Bill (HB) 6922, declaring August 30, the birth of national hero, Marcelo ‘Plaridel’ del Pilar, as ‘National Press Freedom Day.’

“We join the entire Philippine media community, the people of Bulacan and our countrymen in acknowledging the unity shown by our lawmakers that resulted to the quick passage of HB 6922 authored by Rep. Sy-Alvarado,” NPC president Paul M. Gutierrez said.

“While the struggle in our legislature for the enactment of a law recognizing the heroism of Gat. Plaridel, his central role as the ‘Father of Philippine Journalism’ and the importance of the press in our society is far from over, the strong support for this measure shown by the Lower House is already an important and significant step towards its realization,” Gutierrez added.

Citing the official press release issued by Congress on Tuesday, February 6, the lawmakers voted 110-0 in favor of the proposal, Gutierrez noted.

“This voting also not only showed the strong leadership of Speaker Alvarez in marshalling our congressmen to pass the measure but also, the immense effort expended by Rep. Sy-Alvarado towards this end,” the press club official said.

In the last four years, the NPC has been lobbying Malacañang and the legislature to declare August 30 of each year as ‘Press Freedom Day;’ it previously defeated a proposal in the Senate to declare November 23, the date of the infamous ‘Ampatuan Massacre,’ as the country’s press freedom day.

Since 2014, the NPC has been joining the people of Bulacan in paying honor to Gat. Plaridel at his shrine every August 30, which is a local holiday in the province; in 2015, the club organized the ‘1st Plaridel Media Camp’ attended by active members of the press in Bulacan, Central Luzon and Metro Manila.

The club also helped organized the ‘Katipunan ng mga Alagad ni Marcelo H. del Pilar, Inc.’ (KAMPI), a non-profit organization solely dedicated to promoting the life and struggles of the great hero as well as working for the commemoration of his birthday as ‘National Press Freedom Day.’

During last year’s celebration, Gutierrez expressed the hope that under Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and with the convening of the 17th Congress, their ‘dream’ of elevating Gat. Plaridel to his rightful place in the country’s pantheon of heroes would be finally realized.

“And now, we are glad to realize it is no longer a ‘dream’ but something that is nearing reality,” Gutierrez said, noting that all their appeal for support during the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III did not even merited any official reply. ###


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