A fellow Mindanaoan writer once said Davao Today (DT) is one of the few online news that he can rely on in terms of giving a bird’s eye view of the whole gamut of what is news in Davao particularly. Modesty aside, I declined to give any comment, but in fairness to the other perhaps more reliable online news outlet, I thought being so wasn’t really a piece of cake.
Being fairly new myself among its writers, I have been privy to the spirit that moves every member of DT, and how, through the years, it strives to courageously be true to its calling. What it has been through the years, tackling various socio-political and economic matters and keeping an open mind on critical and ticklish issues of the day, have made it a little less mundane with its writers’ handling of the different stories.
Has DT made a dent on the seeming apolitical atmosphere of Davao City through the years? There’s no telling, I guess, though it could not be discounted. But like a voice in the wilderness, there’s no stopping for the majority young batch among the writers of DT.
While it is human nature and normal for people to be afraid especially if there is reason enough to be so, the stories of every Filipino especially those on the fringes of society who are always at the losing end makes storytelling more of a responsibility and a challenge to one’s inner strength. The political climate in Mindanao as a whole has, for years, become stringent and narrowed, and unless one chose to write on the “safe side” and not bothered with one’s conscience, it has not been a paved road for DT.
Covering stories not only in Davao region but in other parts of Mindanao with so little resources is itself a struggle for everyone. Through fifteen years of its existence, DT was able to deliver the news that matters, from the many different stories of Lumad struggle in Davao region and the East coast, the war in Marawi, the massacre in Maguindanao, and the multi-faceted politics of warring clans elsewhere in the island.
One could not really count the number of times when DT writers have to make sacrifices just to pool stories together and make a decent presentation of what is/was on the ground.
What is striking though is how issues have been written in a way that does not need controversies. Calling a spade, a spade, is how DT writers handle their facts, uncompromising, and yet respectful. Perhaps that is the one factor that makes this news outfit stand tall, despite the harassment and intimidation that now a few among its steadfast writers have been through.
It is keeping the faith in the face of adversity and challenges that makes it bounce back after a fall, even if it is easier said than done. (davaotoday.com)
Margarita Valle is a mother, veteran alternative news writer and development worker, whose passion is to write stories of the Mindanao Lumad and women in their quest for social justice. Her previous column is called Kanak gamay na kyatigaman (My little understanding) under her maiden name Fides Avellanosa.