Buzz: Energy-saving measures

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

THE government must have decided to be extra prudent in spending public funds these days, but mainly where Talisay City is concerned.

One of these austerity measures is to keep the flyover in Tabunok and the Talisay portion of the Cebu South Coastal Road unlighted.

Traveling on the flyover and at the Cebu South Coastal Road at night has been an adventure for more than a month. Perhaps this is a good thing because upon reaching these roads, drivers become extra-alert. They can’t risk a wink, lest a cyclist, pedestrian or trisikad cross their path on the pitch-dark highway or flyover.


Seeing trees, missing the forest

As the debate continues on the fate of century-old acacia trees lining the highway from the City of Naga to Carcar City, few conservationists noticed that the concerned local government, Capitol and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) arrived at a settlement over the cutting of nearly 400 native trees in a mountain barangay in Argao, Cebu.

The trees grew at the site of the National Greening Program, which promotes the planting of native tree species. Why native species? Native tree species serve as habitat and provide food to endemic wildlife. So restoring the natural forest in an area also helps rehabilitate the damaged ecosystem, which include endemic wildlife.
Those who appreciate the value of protecting native trees lauded the move of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) in Argao for pursuing the case against the Argao LGU over the clearing in Barangay Jampang. But the Cenro may be waging a lonely war as conservation groups are still focused on saving the acacia, an exotic tree species.

Official’s duties

A public informatin officer scolded a news reporter for interviewing her boss without coordinating with her.

Reporters who learned about this came to the side of their colleague. They said the information officer should be happy that the media bothered to get the side of her boss on a controversial issue.

The reporters are right. But then, journalists would also fail in their duty of ensuring fair reporting if they do not get the side of the other party in an issue.

Bound by deadlines, a journalist does not have time to go through the often-circuitous channels in government to get to the right news source. If the journalist is able to contact the news source directly and the latter responds, well and good. If by doing so, the journalist made the information officer look incompetent, so be it.

Journalists are not duty-bound to make government officials look competent even if they are not.

Instead of berating the reporter for making a shortcut to her boss, the information officer should make sure that media get the correct data. This can be accomplished by anticipating what kind of information the public needs, which can be disseminated through the media.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 18, 2014.

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