The Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division (8th ID) in
Eastern Visayas has gathered journalists in the region in
a bid to enhance links with the media in improving the image of military.
The 48 journalists from different media outfits in the region participated in a two-day Army’s Road Transformation seminar on Friday and Saturday, which aims to familiarize how the army is transforming themselves to better and more professional soldiers.
The Philippine Army in the region, according to Capt. Isagani Viernes, 8th ID public affairs chief, has been rated high both in local and foreign peace keeping operations. Recently, 12 soldiers coming from 8th Infantry Division were deployed to
from Dec. 1, 2013 to Sept. 20, 2014.
Previously, media-military relationship in
Visayas, in most cases has been unhealthy. It is because that the
natures and cultures of the two organizations are really conflicting.
Jenelyn Gaquit of UNTV and president of 8th ID press corps said that “media by its very nature is doubtful, and freewheeling.”
“They respond to the basic beliefs to expose the actions of the governments, including the military to public scrutiny,” Gaquit added. “This is more because of the previous series of alleged military involvement in the region on human rights cases, especially in remote villages.”
While the military according to Viernes, ordered, disciplined, and action oriented, – “this must be so to effectively exercise constitutional responsibilities.”
“Sometimes the military prefers to carry out its activities behind closed doors more so because the nature of its work somehow offends the feelings or emotions of the public, on whose support it must rely for its meaningful existence in protecting the territories against internal and external enemies,” Viernes said.
And with the ongoing values transformation in the army, there seems to be increasing interest in the society that media inquiry is an aspect of a healthy civilian relationship of the military and also an exercise of free speech, according to the military official.
He recognized the media as partner since it “familiarizes the public with the military and the difficulties of its tasks, reports of successes and extends public support to the military.”
“It is therefore, laudable that the army now is more concerned about their image and reputation, doing much for the security, unity and development of Region 8.” Gaquit added.