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Basilan clash documentary leads to reforms in military

/ 07:47 AM September 22, 2011

The power of media to trigger positive  change  was emphasized in yesterday’s annual general assembly of the Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists (CFBJ).

In a lunch forum, GMA-7 news producer Jun Veneracion shared his experience covering the Mindanao conflict in 2007.

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He showed  a  video documentary titled  “Engkuwentro,”  which reported the  clash between the military and Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in Basilan.

Veneracion and his crew in “Reporter’s Notebook”  were caught in the seven-hour firefight.

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He said  he felt vindicated when military equipment was upgraded after the documentary exposed how marines struggled with mortar shells that failed to fire at the peak of battle.

While he almost got hit and his camera man suffered shrapnel wounds in the head, Veneracion said the experience showed that “we have the power to make change for good.”

GMA-7 management made it a policy to equip journalists assigned in war zones with bulletproof vests and Kevlar helmets after the documentary was first shown.

After Veneracion spoke, the new set of officers of CFBJ—the umbrella organization of news reporters, correspondents, photographers and videographers—took  took their oaths of office.

They are Elias Baquero, who was elected for a sixth term as president; Oscar Pineda, vice president; Liv Campo, secretary; Joseph Tubilan, treasurer; Flor Perolina, auditor; and directors Chito Aragon, Gabby Malagar, Gregg Rubio, Irene Sino-Cruz, Ryan Borinaga, Norman Mendoza, Alex Badayos and Rene Borromeo.

Baquero, in  a speech,  thanked colleagues for letting him serve anew.

“I did it right because that’s what I was supposed to do, to lead the CFBJ and ensure that every member benefits from our effort,” Baquero said, referring to his five-year track record as president.

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Baquero, a senior reporter of Sun.Star Cebu,  called for  solidarity among  members  so that programs  like health and financial assistance will be continued.

He announced the amendment of the CFBJ charter to include  membership of the newly formed Media in Cebu’s South (MICS), Entertainment Group (E-Group) and Association of Reporters in Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu City for Integrity, Truth and Equality (Armalite).

During the CFBJ general assembly,  Globe Telecom launched its  first Cebu Media Excellence Awards.

The awards will recognize the TV reporter, radio commentator of the year, radio reporter, print reporter of the year, feature story, columnist and blogger of the year.

Print and broadcast work  from Sept. 21, 2011, to  July 31, 2012, will be screened in August 2012.

Nominees will be announced on Sept. 1, 2012, while winners will be awarded on Sept. 21, 2012. /Candeze R. Mongaya, Reporter

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TAGS: Basilan, documentary, Film, Insurgency, Media, Military
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