Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Resurrected DZVT

DZVT is already on its test broadcast. It is expected that in 2013, the Catholic Church’s-owned radio station broadcasting from Occidental Mindoro will again occupy the airwaves after it was razed to ashes in October 2011. I was informed that none of the former announcers, technicians and staffs were re-hired. Aside from it’s tagline “Ang Tinig ng Pamayanang Kristiyano sa Occidental Mindoro”, DZVT ‘s other catch phrase is, “Radyo Totoo sa Kanlurang Mindoro”.  Having these in mind, the true mandate of any radio station, be it secular or otherwise, is to tell the truth. But to tell you the truth, unless I hear their regular radio programs dwell on the burning issues of the day fearlessly and responsibly and other ministries rejuvenated, we cannot celebrate as yet.  

While DZVT went off air because of that evil arson, lies and liars litter our airwaves and even more became intense. The two warring stations had their heyday. Local broadcasters from opposite end of  the political fence accusing each other as liars. As far as I am concerned (and I think many of you will agree with me), the situation of our local media specially those owned and operated by politicians can be summed up by these powerful but truthful words: instruments of social demoralization, confusion and political destruction! Can we afford to let those things just pass through our Christian lenses doing nothing concrete?

Liars hate the one telling the truth. A liar hates the truth and willing to employ all criminal acts in the book to silent those who are going against their lies and half truths. To decipher media lies, lying and liars, from p. 77 of his book “Media in Our Midst”, Oscar V. Cruz has this to say : “Lies are the product of misdeeds...the manifestations of guilt. The earlier someone starts and continuous lying, the more and bigger lie he or she tells, the more people he or she repeats the same lies to. Even liars themselves cannot stand each other for long precisely because they hold one another in disdain. Liars are made, not born. No matter how accustomed one is to lying, lying still remains an effort for him...” True, when a local media get rid of lies and liars, its existence is a blessing, for instance, when broadcast practitioners go against those who illegally use public fund to stay in power. On the other hand, when the supposedly non-aligned and apolitical Catholic broadcasters keep quiet, play deaf, waste their energies on the icings than the main dough and dwell exhaustively ONLY on skin-deep problems and issues, when they solely and overly confine themselves ONLY to sacraments, spiritual matters and less controversial issues, they become not only social liabilities but enemies of truth. They become sons and daughters of the Father of Lies without them knowing it. We cannot be brothers and sisters of the Man who truthfully declared that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life if we are at the same time sons and daughters of the Father of Lies!

More than ever here, political propagandists and supporters fight like hell over the radio and elsewhere. They even expanded time slots for their public affairs programs. While we, the listeners, the constituents, the general public, are as ever enjoying the circus or extravaganza.  Enjoyment that dilutes our political maturity, transforming the very essence of politics from intellectual democratic exercise, from service, authority and governance, to a mere entertainment which most of us enjoy with gusto! Thus, our radio apostolate should indirectly evangelize the secular media in our midst as well.

Radio as a medium of communication must be prophetic therefore must be liberating. Every member of the Catholic Media Network (CMN) knows that. For every Catholic broadcaster, the events unfolding each day is God’s agenda for action. But words alone do not make an authentic prophet (read: witness). They must have corresponding action. This is where other pastoral concerns enter into the scene. In p. 307 of his book “Communicating in Community : An Introduction to Social Communication” Franz-Josef Ailers, SVD rightfully states : “Prophetic communication serves truth and challenge falsehood. Prophetic communication stimulates critical awareness of the reality constructed by the media and helps people to distinguish truth from falsehood, to discern the subjectivity of the journalist and to disassociate that which is ephemeral and trivial from that which is lasting and valuable. Often it is necessary to develop alternative communication so that prophetic words and deeds can be realized”. Indeed to advocate for social transformation is also a way of evangelization and bringing the Good News. Hundreds of thousands of people in our community are prayerfully dreaming that DZVT would finally be that local alternative media. And it is still trying to be, I pray.

The re-opening of DZVT coincides with Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration of 2013 as Year of Faith. Voluminous theological materials dwell on this subject but as a layman, I have a very limited view on the topic. For me, faith is simply a continual search for meaning, for making sense what is happening here and now and by discovering what links them together. Our faith is a personal individual response, says “Cathechism for Filipino Catholics” (CFC, 168), yet only possible if we act as member of the Christian community, the Church. By the way, the Year of Faith started last October 2012 and would last until the Feast of Christ the King this 2013.

May the “Tinig ng Pamayanang Kristiyano” continue to advocate and be the Church’s mouth piece in ventilating immediate problems, by protecting the environment through enhancing and initiating programs and projects say,  to minimize the effects of climate change here in our beloved province. Or by seriously and collectively, down from the BECs to parochial and diocesan levels, fight against,- together with other civil society organizations, our common enemies like aggressive development projects such as mining which are affront to our sovereignty and natural resources. Including other social ills like gambling and other criminality or social ills in our midst like drugs, illegal fishing and illegal logging and anti-life and anti-family initiatives and issues. Not only that. If DZVT is resurrected it must re-exist to compliment with all the diocesan pastoral ministries like the Mangyan Mission, the Family and Life Apostolate, the Lay Formation Office, the Social Services Commission, Prison Apostolate, Sustainable Agriculture and Livelihood Apostolate, and all the religious organizations and so on.  I think the hierarchy already made a paradigm shift in her main pastoral direction and the Diocesan Curia already intact that’s why they have already decided to bring back DZVT on  trail. Have they? Actually I have no idea for I've been away from the center more than a year now. How can the Church walk the talk if she neglects those pastoral (and also administrative) thrusts through consultations or assemblies at the diocesan level?

Well, unless dialogue and reconciliation toward total renewal are put into place in our present predicament as a pilgrim Church, resurrecting DZVT’s would be irrelevant and meaningless...

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