NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Sectors of social media expressing obsession over the Chronicle’s coverage of public officials and events and stories reported has turned grist for the mill for the public, private, and media circles
The latest episode that was woven to manipulate public opinion was hurled against the 67- year-old The Bohol Chronicle (BC) and the 61-year-old DYRD when it brazenly concocted a story circulated in social media on the “tourism business partnership” between Loboc Mayor Leon Calipusan and Bohol Chronicle Radio Corp. General Manager Peter Dejaresco that shielded from the public eye “corruption and illegal activities of Mayor Leon Calipusan that destroyed the mountains of Loboc – bukid anapog gi-quarry galingon ug gibaligya in and outside Bohol,” according to unnamed sources.
The proliferation of fake news for political, criminal, and personal ends has awakened the public to how serious public opinion manipulation as shown in “fake news” is something that must be actively fought.
Contrary to the insinuations doing the rounds on social media, the twin media enterprise has fully covered the various issues surrounding Loboc Mayor Calipusan, both in the quarry as well as the tourism issues confronting Loboc. In fact, some of the stories were exclusive done by the Chronicle and DYRD.
On the quarry issue, DYRD reporter Rey Tutas arrived in Barangay Upper Bonbon on September 14, 2020, a few minutes after the raiding team headed by Retired Colonel Alex Maglajos issued the closure order to Calipusan.
Tutas was sent by DYRD News Center to cover the closure operation enforced by a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team and police officers.
Tutas filed the report a day after Kevin Damalerio, then Head of the Provincial Information Media Relations (PRIMER) confirmed by a press statement the closure order of the quarry “allegedly owned and operated by Calipusan, while the full story was published in theChronicle Sunday print edition on September 27, 2020.
Despite allegations of business interests, the Chronicle reported graft raps filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Former Loboc Mayor Helen Alaba, the sister of Calipusan including adverse Commission on Audit (COA) findings on losses incurred by the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Loboc over commissions to van drivers for bringing in tourists to its destinations.
DYRD also discussed issues on the controversy surrounding the management of the floating restaurants plying the Loboc river and alleged harassment experienced by tourist guides.
An earlier report on the “souvenir checks” distributed to livestock workers by Governor Arthur Yap also triggered various reactions from callers, texters, and viewers.
The distribution of “souvenir checks” by no less than Yap to members of the Barangay Livestock Aide (BALA) in the amount of two thousand four hundred pesos each with the front faces of Yap and Vice Governor Rene Relampagos embedded on the left side of the check.
The Chronicle also reported the dismay felt by several BALA members who became aware that the checks were meant “to commemorate the receipt of their cash aid which was distributed on August 2020,” according to Provincial Veterinarian Stella Marie “Bing” Lapiz.
Returning to their homes empty-handed, livestock workers from Barangay Upper Bonbon, Bugho, and Candabong, Loboc aired their collective disappointment thru one of their members – Jerome Navea.
Sencio Paster and Marlon Morgia both from Barangay Cabawan, Maribojoc also narrated their displeasure over the perceived ruse to lure them under the guise of incentives to assemble despite the pandemic.
The interview over DYRD “Inyong Alagad” by the Bala members generated numerous reactions from callers and Facebook viewers that drew an intricate response from the Governor’s Office.
Lapiz explained before 36 BALA chapter presidents who were summoned to the Capitol that “We may commit mistakes, but one mistake committed by our member does not flush out the 24 years of good service (he has) rendered as livestock aide,” according to Philippine Information Agency (PIA) – Bohol report.
According to the PIA, the 36 municipal BALA chapter presidents signed a manifesto expressing their gratitude to Yap and Relampagos for the honorarium acknowledging their contribution to the livestock industry after 24 years since their inception.
Reacting to the predicament of the BAlA members from Loboc, Mayor Leon Calipusan lambasted Yap for encouraging gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic and reminded the governor that BALA members are appointed by the barangay captains which should issue their respective identification cards, not the Provincial Government.
The intentional spread of inaccurate information with the intent to deceive for political or economic reasons has been used by certain sectors of the community to undermine the public in its search for the truth with the media striving for careful research and constant fact-checking. (Chito M. Visarra)