What’s in a name?

IT’S A PITY how some journalists trivialized the Makati City bus blast last week and made fun of a victim of the tragic incident — the bus driver.

His name is Latinate — Maximo Peligro — which may be roughly translated to “maximum danger”, and which some journalists found newsworthy because of its coincidence with the fate he and his passengers met.

Among the apparently insensitive stories revolving around Mr. Peligro’s name, the best archetype is probably Ira Pedrasa’s article on abs-cbnNEWS.com. The 315-word article merely focused on the interest generated by the victim’s curious name:

While Filipinos still can’t get a grip of how such an explosion happened at such a quiet siesta time, a few somehow got a quick sense of why it all happened: Maximo. Maximum. Peligro. Danger. Risk.

[…]

…the online community was already abuzz with the unusual name.

PopiSunga said: Maximo Peligro? Seriously?

Bus blast
The article continues with a list of equally trivializing headlines by other journalists and bloggers. It’s written like a joke, and I wonder if relatives of the five people killed in the bombing found it funny.

It seems that the only consolation in the webpage that contained Pedrasa’s article is the comments section. Some readers were keen enough to observe the article’s insensitivity and lack of taste.

Then let’s look at the countryside

The feat of Inquirer photographer Edgardo Espiritu, winning in the 2010 Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards, is a welcome news to anyone who wants to develop our countryside.

As a leading newspaper in the Philippines, the Inquirer should do well in publishing more of Espiritu’s photos which feature the country’s naturally rich yet underdeveloped agricultural areas. What many people do not know is that the Philippines has a lot of potential for progress through agriculture. The problem is that our agricultural sector doesn’t have sufficient infrastructure to support itself — basic things like farm-to-market roads, agricultural training centers, and efficient fertilizers and farming machines.

Through Espiritu’s photos (appropriately captioned, of course), the Inquirer will be helping Filipinos learn about the more important and urgent needs of the country — for example, the basic project of agricultural development.

Next topic…

I REMEMBER, once, when the laundry came back, some socks were missing.

Sometimes, the same thing happens among newspapers, particularly in the opinion pages: they miss out on talking about things that matter — the need for a better education system, for example.

In another letter to the Inquirer, Fr. Cecilio Magsino calls for media attention to our public school teachers who are often taken for granted. He laments the pitiable plight of some teachers who, due to their scarcity in many provinces, have to teach scores of pupils from Grades 1 to 4.

How about us — which burning issues do we want to read about? Maybe it’s time we write our writers.

Write on teachers too

I LIKED very much the Inquirer’s Jan. 15 editorial titled “Unnursed dream,” which was about the plight of Filipino nurses. With its publication, I hope Filipinos work together to improve their lives and working conditions.

I would like to suggest though that the Inquirer write an editorial this time about our public school teachers.

Continue reading in the Inquirer website.