Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Kalikasan Awards Controversy: An In-Depth Look

The College of Communication (COC) is absolutely a certified outstanding college of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), and the people behind its success are the college officials, the faculty, and most importantly, the students. As seen on its progressive history, the college has become the training ground for the enhancement of its students' intellect, talents, and values, which prepare them on their journey to the real world of media.

The COC is also known for having the most number of student organizations in the university, thirteen to date, proving that it is certainly the most active and well-rounded college. One of those organizations is the BroadCircle, which was established especially for the Broadcast Communication students.

Last September 2006 was the BroadCircle month, having the theme: "BroadBond: Mga Ka-Broad! Bonding Tayo!" Activities included the opening ceremonies which showcased the newest installation of the college, its campus radio station. Along with it was the publicity of their activities and competitions such as the DOKYU 2R, the COC Plug Competition for the Third Year, and for us Second Year Students, the Music Video Festival, which is on its third year already. With seven sections struggling to become the 2006 Music Video of the Year, this is one competition to watch out for, hopefully. But things seem to have muddled up badly.

September 25, Monday, was the opening of the respective booths of each entry, well, supposedly. Since we were only allowed to set up on the same day (and not last Saturday, September 23), the booths were only finished the next day.

On September 27, Wednesday, a closed door judging of the music videos was held at the campus radio station, together with the organizers, the representatives of each entry, and the three distinguished judges. Our very own DBC (Department of Broadcast Communication) Chairperson Edna Bernabe was also present for awhile, after informing that the said entries will also be joining the 2006 Catholic Mass Media Awards/CMMA (Hey, the submission of entries for the CMMA was already finished last May 17, and if I’m not mistaken, only one section was able to register... Hmm >>). After the judging, some students speculated that one entry is not an original composition.

September 29, Friday, was purportedly the much awaited Awards Night of the Music Video Fest, but because of unavoidable weather disturbances via Typhoon Milenyo, it was postponed for almost a week. It was moved to October 4, Wednesday, and finally October 9, Monday. But before that special day, troubles have begun to unfold among the contestants.

On October 6, Friday, a closed door meeting was put up to diminish the tension among the Second Year sections. Issues such as the inclusion of BBrC 2-2D’s “Naglahong Paraiso” to the competition despite of its questionable song; BBrC 2-2D having 2 entries; and the alleged bias of BroadCircle via the YouTube teaser video of the Kalikasan Awards which contained the words “Please support Magandang Bukas to be the Music Video of the Year.” In the end, BBrC 2-2D agreed to be disqualified only on the minor award “Best in Musical Arrangement,” but it seemed like the others wanted more. At the end of the day, posters by some students of BBrC 2-2D were found at the vicinity of the campus.

The following day, Saturday, I elaborated the issue through an open letter which I posted along with the BBrC 2-2D’s posters, as well as in the Internet via Friendster, Yahoo Mail, and in this site. Surprisingly, everything related to the issue was nowhere to be found from the bulletin boards and walls by October 9, Monday. Well, maybe it’s too disreputable for those who removed them.

The Song Used by RC 2-2 as Music Video:

Once more, let me give a statement on this issue. First and foremost, this is a matter of legality. This competition is on its third year now, and it is only this year that there are entries with original compositions. The point they are saying that there has been a verbal agreement among the advisers that the entries should be original songs is very unprofessional. I would like to believe that the said verbal agreement by the advisers is regarding the CMMA since CMMA requires original songs, because if not, on my point of view, they are not respecting the authority of BroadCircle as the sole organizer of this event. In the first place, we all know that in the system of this university, every motion should be put on legal document for it to be valid. If you were to follow that standard, then that “originality” rule is illegal, since BroadCircle hasn’t formed a new set of rules with that on the list.

Secondly, this is a matter of showcasing talents. This contest has not been created to encourage enmity among the Second Year sections. In the case of my section, BBrC 2-1D, we did not ever think of getting rid of our competitors just to win; we just simply give our best. Maybe that’s why we are sometimes tagged as “Section ng Karir.” If you want to beat them, surpass them; not eradicate them. Oh yes you have a point that it seems unfair for us (the other entries) that our competitor has an unoriginal song, but what if their entry was inferior? Would you still exert effort just to eradicate them if you already know that you’ll win over them? I’m sorry to say this, but I think you’re insecure. Maybe I’m wrong, but what I’m thinking is that you are aware that “Naglahong Paraiso” is a potential winner in this contest, that is why you’re trying your very best to exclude them. Just compare this incident to a hen and her chicks. All chicks are white and only one is black, but the hen knows that the black chick is still hers, so she doesn’t reject it.

Lastly, this is a matter of professionalism. As I have said awhile ago, this college is our training ground. If in this point in time you are already playing dirty; if in this point in time you are already unethical, how much more when you’re in the real world? Let me again cite my section, BBrC 2-1D. Days, if not weeks, we were already preparing for this competition. We admit that our video is not technically superb, that is why we focused to at least get one minor award. We created an artistic promotional poster and booth, and we exerted time and effort for a production number worth watching. We did not question why the others were irresponsibly late in registering. We did not question why the others were irresponsibly late in passing the requirements even if it was a ground for their disqualification. Honestly, we were mad at them, because it is absolutely unfair for us.

Camaraderie. Good working relationship. Fair competition. It’s what matters. Every good endeavor has an equivalent reward. As Sir Don says, “If you can’t beat them, join them."

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