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AsianInstituteof Journalismand Communication Prof.

BelenDayauon
Development Communicati on August1, 2000
MariaFatimaA. Villena"Jofti"

Toxic Sunset: A Pointfor Analvsisand Reflection

Thedamagehasbeendonebuta lotof problems causedby it needto be


re-addressed andanswered.The People's TaskForcefor BasesClean-Up(PTFBC)has
beenintodealingwiththe issuefor a longtimebutseemsto havelittleor no progress at
all untila realizationhascometo surface.Thatto dealwiththe issueis to let the people
affecteddealwiththe issueas theirown. Thismeanspeopleaffectedshoulddirectlybe
enforced to furthertheirparticipation goalandobjectives
in the organization's andbe
unitedas one in fightingfor whatwasleftof theirfuture.

Thisprojecthas beena collective


effortof the groupto ensurea very
comprehensive andsubstantialoutcomethatwouldserveas an eye-opener to the general
publicandreadersof thispaper.Thisis to broughtup an issuewhichcomprises people's
livesand howtheseliveshavechangedwiththe aftermath of the departureof the U.S.
basesin Clarkand Subicandto knowthe ertentof its dangerous effects.

Apartfromotherreasons,thisprojectis to helpgaugethe levelof importance


of
mediaintoenliveningthe issue-to broughtit outand informthe generalpublic,
the perpetrators,
conscientize reachthe international
andenvironmental groupsand
createan overallimpacton its totality.

TheClarkAir BaseCommand (CABCOM) residents are nurtured withverylimited


knowledge of whatwas happening to themthinkingthatit wasall a partof a voodoo
culture.In theirnaivete'aboutthe issue,theyweretakenadvantage of, withthe so-
called,"bigboys".Theywerecheated,ledto believethattheAmericans weretheir
savioursfroma lifeof povertyand heroesfor greaterabundance andwealth.These
peoplewereleftwithfew choicesandoftenthesechoicesputtheirlivesat stake.Thus,
becauseof theirlackof appropriate knowledge abouttoxicwastes,theycouldnotcommit
to a process of transformationand haveno ideaof whatthesematerialsmaycausethem
in thefutureandevento the unbornchildren.Furtheractivities shouldthenbe organized
to generate the kindof participation
the organization
neededto helpthemdevisean
effectivecampaign planfor heighteningthe awarenessof the audiences.

Throughconstantdialogueinitiated by the group,moreandmorevictimsare


becoming awareof the gravethreatsof theirplightbutevenmorestrengthening their
emotional capacityto fightfor theirinjustices.According to PauloFreirein his Pedagogy
of the Oppressed,attempting to liberatethe oppressed withouttheirreflectiveparticipaiion
is liketreatingthemas objectsandas masseswhichcanbe manipulated. This
unprecedented realization
of the PTFBChasbroughtmutualbenefitsamongthemand
thevictims,therefore,theireffortshasbeenprospering thoughit maynotbe in leapsand
boundstheyarealsoconsidered as noteworthy achievementsin pursuing theirgoals.
Thisreflection havemademe seethe importance of development communication in
puttingup a projectthatwouldtacklesensitive issueslikethe issueof toxicwastesin the
formermilitarybases.Thisis to ensurethatthe properauthorities and respective
governments areawareandtakingnecessary actionsin solvingthisgraveproblem.With
an effective
development communication plan, the organizing bodieswouldbe assured
thattheirneedto be heardandunderstood aresatisfied andmetat leastin a sufficient
level.Thisplanwouldstrikea conscientious effortwithinthe PTFBCandthe people
affectedto maximize the availability
of theirresources at and leastproposed actionsthat
arefeasibleandwouldgenerateparticipation fromthe CABCOMresidents.Thiswould
alsobringaboutemphatic dialogueamongthe PTFBCandthe affectedcommunities for
furtherformulation
of trainingprograms,lectureson toxicwastesand howto detoxicate
victimssuchas children andthe like,IECmaterials andotherindigenous collateral,
media
andpub!icrelations campaign andplansfor legalaid. Lastly,development
communication wouldhelpin assessing the progress of theirprojectthroughcomparative
studiesandevaluation analysis.

PARTICIPATION

In thiscollective
bargainingagreement,I haveput in an insurmountable effortand
timein finishingthisprojectfromthe conceptualizationto the execution
of thefinished
product.,lwas assigned to researchon the issuewhichis calledas,"toxicsunset".Then,
afterclearingsomeof issuesregarding thetopicschosen,I haveto makean oulineof the
wholeplanbasedon the information suppliedby the othermembers.We wereall tasked
to haveourowninputin the paperthroughconsolidating on the issueandfurther
debating/conducting dialogues amongthe members thatenabledus to comeup witha
comprehensive andsubstantial outcome. I wasalsotaskedto encodemostof thefirst
partof the paperandprepared the bibliography.

All of theseplusmy ideason the paperareworthof all the considerations at hand.


Butthe experience of workingfor a singlecausethatI knowwouldbe beneficial notonly
for our groupbutalsofor the communities affectedby the toxicwastesis far more
satisfyingandfulfilling.