By Vanette Colmenares
New York – Before anyone lambasts me with political comments for my picture, let me tell you my day.
Today, Friday, April 26, is an important day since I voted for the leaders in my home country. I received my ballot a few days earlier, filled it this morning and decided to drop it off at the Philippine Consulate.
Two years ago, I did the same thing at just about the same time. Fifth Avenue, where the Philippine Consulate is situated a few blocks from the Trump Tower, was again closed off. Pres. Trump was in town. After I dropped off my ballot, I got myself a selfie to prove that I voted.
Walking to the Asian American Writers Workshop, amidst the pouring rain, was no fun. I had to stop by a deli to get my dose of orange juice.
When I arrived, Don T. of ABS-CBN and Boyet L. of GMA were setting up their cameras for that afternoon’s event. The Fil-Am Press Club, through its president, Marivir M. was granted an interview by Maria Ressa of Rappler. (She was in town upon invitation for some speaking events and to receive her 2019 Influencer of the Year by Time Magazine).
The afternoon went by so quickly, and the insights that Maria Ressa gave the press club about her cases, the Philippine situation, her TIME magazine story and the issues that face the elections are just but a few of the topics covered. Podcasts, watch lists and other social outlets have blasted it earlier.
As I posted on my family’s site about my afternoon with Ressa, I got this reply (translated from Bisaya): “Maria Ressa is a nuisance. The people of the Philippines is against her, that’s why she is in the States to gather support.”
I was perplexed with this comment because I saw the woman as small, a journalist by profession yet she is being feared by a powerful man. She must be doing something right to get that reaction.
Journalism is indeed a powerful tool. And to be a woman in the field holds a much challenging role. There were two statements that she said which made me ponder, “death by a thousand cuts” and “silence is the enemy of democracy.”
And I concur with Ressa when she said three things, “Transparency is the new objectivity”, “I’m not in the opposition, I’m a journalist” and “As long as there’s democracy, we will continue reporting.”
Words of a Woman.
(Photos by Felix Manuel)