PAGADIAN CITY, January 23, 2017 – Carrying their banners and wits with them, over 5,000 campus journalists and advisers from 18 regions gathered at the opening ceremony of the 2017 National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) on January 22 in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.
In a message delivered by Public Affairs Service (PAS) Assistant Secretary G.H. Ambat, the Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones congratulated the delegates for reaching the national level and recognized that making this far is no easy feat.
“Tears were shed, dreams were challenged, and even hearts were broken. But more than talent, it takes perseverance, the support of your advisers, school, family and friends, and most of all, the love for words and understanding of its power, to reach this national level,” Briones said.
Briones also said that reaching this point already makes them a winner, but stated that ‘winning’ is not the end of the NSPC or the schools press conference in general.
“Every year, we partake in this critical event of honing the skills and values of future journalists, opinion shapers, information gatekeepers, and creative writers, whose words will definitely impact decisions of ordinary Filipinos and the country’s top policy makers,” Briones stated.
Furthermore, Briones mentioned that the NSPC is the ideal occasion to remind budding journalists about the collective responsibility to always adhere to the truth, especially following the Executive Order implementing the Freedom of Information (FOI) in the Executive Branch.
“Campus journalism has caused events and produced people that changed the course of Philippine history. May your words inspire respect for human rights, nationalism, culture, and ignite genuine Filipino pride. Write your best,” Briones emphasized.
Also present at the event were Undersecretaries Dina Ocampo and Victoria Catibog, Bureau of Curriculum Development (BCD) Director Jocelyn Andaya, Regional Director Isabelita Borres, and other DepEd officials and personnel.
Zamboanga del Sur government officials also expressed their gratitude in hosting this year’s NSPC. Some of the government officials present at the event were Pagadian City Mayor Romeo Pulmones, Zamboanga del Sur Vice Governor William Cerilles, Congresswoman Aurora Cerilles, and Congresswoman Divina Grace Yu.
The awarding of overall winners and the turnover ceremony for the next NSPC host region will be held on January 25 at the Saint Columban College.
This effort is pursuant to the DepEd Memorandum No. 216, s. 2016 or the 2017 National Schools Press Conference which is available at http://www.deped.gov.ph/memos/dm-216-s-2016.