In a speech, Thomas S. Saras, president of the 828-member print, radio and television journalists, National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, said, if the freedom of the right to information “was carefully observed by the state (Philippine government) on the day of the tragic killing of the 32 journalists and 26 other civilians, all of them today should be around as a testament of respect of life, of integrity and of the freedom of the press safeguarded by the government of Manila.”
Mr. Saras, editor-in-chief of the Greek-language newspaper Patrides, North American Review, who writes in Greek and in English, spoke at the 10th anniversary and Christmas party of the Philippine Press Club Ontario (PPCO), headed by Rose Tijam, last Friday, Dec. 2, at Rembrandt Banquet Hall at 930 Progress Avenue, in Toronto’s suburb of Scarborough.
Among the dignitaries, who attended the event, were Philippine Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Leslie B. Gatan, and Toronto’s Consul General Pedro O. Chan.
Saras said the people should understand that the government has a supreme power. But it also faces challenges that prevent it from making intelligent choices. But the people have the power to keep or discard the government “when they vote.”
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION, THE MOST IMPORTANT FREEDOM
He said it is a basic principle in a democracy that there should be certain freedoms. “The most important of all for a free democratic state is freedom of information. Something very basic for a civilized society.”
But the people have to protect the democratic principles and virtues by working “harder in order to force the authority to respect their responsibilities to enforce the laws for the nation, for the people, to offer (them) education to protect its people for a better living condition.
In a video feed, Saras said, “This is our responsibility to ensure in the name of the people and for the people. This must be the struggle of our lives and this must be a struggle without limits. The only limit to election of tomorrow is the doubts of today. In a changing world, in a global village, let’s stand together hand in hand, demanding justice, education, and equal opportunities for all. Poor and rich and the respect of the right of every citizen to life either he is pro or against a specific political philosophy.”
During the party, Filipino Canadians of Toronto Rodney Ronquillo and Chyrell Samson interpreted the duet of The Prayer by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion.
The PPCO is headed by Ms. Rose Tijam (freelancer) after Paul de la Cruz quit last October. The vice president is Hermie Garcia (Philippine Reporter), Riza Khamal (Philippine Reporter), secretary; and Mogie Mogado (Balita), treasurer. The board members are Jess Cabrias (Talakayan Radio); Joy Sarmiento (Pinoy News, Pinoy World TV); and Jonathan Canchela (Philippine Reporter). The PPCO is a not-for-profit social club.