Issue of April 15, 2018

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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PIA–CAR, Baguio media part w/ historical Lualhati office
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

THANKSGIVING -- Kankanaey elder Ernesto Donato performs rituals at the dap-ay of the Philippine Information Agencyregional office in Lualhati, Baguio City during the thanksgiving and turnover of the facility to personnel of The Mansion last week. -- Redjie Melvic Cawis

Members of the Baguio media joined the staff of the Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera in bidding farewell to the regional office at the Lualhati compound that served as a historical marker and house to numerous media events through the years.

Through a mass led by a mambunong (traditional priest), rituals, and arts and gongs, private and public media practitioners held a thanksgiving as they reminisced great years of fruitful collaboration in the field of news and current events at the Cordillera House and dap-ay or traditional meeting place for the last time.

The PIA-CAR staff, led by Regional Director Helen Tibaldo, has recently transferred office at the Insular Life Building at Abanao Extension, almost a year after the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) ordered the agency to vacate the PIA Training Compound, fronting the presidential Mansion, at Lualhati barangay where it held office since mid-2000.

Last May 2017, Deputy Executive Secretary Rizalina Justol in a letter told the PIA-CAR to leave by August, but the official transfer happened only early this year. She informed Tibaldo that they plan to rehabilitate the office and should be turned to the OES.

The Baguio media, through its umbrella organization Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club (BCBC), appealed in several petitions before top officials including Pres. Rodrigo Durerte to preserve the Cordillera House and its compound and to let the regional agency stay, but the takeover still took place.

“Maybe at first we all felt bad and it is a natural reaction, but as the mambunong told us earlier, ang serbisyo ay hindi namimili ng lugar, so wherever we may be, from here at Lualhati to Insular Life building, we will have the same kind of service that is expected of us. This means that we should not be attached to the places where we hold office,” Tibaldo said as she addressed the group together with partners in the profession. “It must be service first to the public or to the community we serve,” she added.

The Thursday event, Tibaldo said, is a way of expressing PIA-CAR’s gratitude to the “great memories and all the things that PIA and the media sector have accomplished at the Lualhati office, and for good vibes wherever we are going.”

“This is therefore a celebration, because moving out is a new beginning, and so we start a new chapter with positivity,” she said.

A representative from The Mansion management, who will oversee the PIA compound, was present during the event. Tibaldo asked the media partners to render the Mansion House staff the kind of support as they have accorded the Presidential Communication and Operations Office and PIA personnel.

The BCBC, through its president Jonathan Munar, presented a certificate of appreciation to the PIA-CAR for the “decades-long partnership and friendship with the BCBC that gave rise to the myriad of undertakings in the locality.”

The group said that PIA has made for the BCBC a worthy ally and collaborative partner with its generosity, energy, and will to serve that fostered camaraderie and sense of family  and community.

They also thanked the agency for serving as the media’s refuge and panacea to the worries and ills of the media profession.

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