Editorials and columns have called for a “post-summit” accounting of expenses incurred by the government during preparations for the 12th Asean Summit.
In today’s editorial, SunStar said that “summit organizers and others that used public funds, from line agencies to the Capitol to the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, will now have to make a public accounting, tedious and painful (though) the task maybe.”
Without their having to say it, that is what the law requires, and what the public can expect.
The people, however, are entitled to more than an accounting of funds. Journalists, commentators and opinion makers, too, are accountable to the public for every word they say or write. The business of informing the public, after all, is imbued with the highest public interest.
Lest the media be accused of double standards, therefore, an accounting should be made of the following claims:
1. The CICC was finished ahead of the original dates of the summit. All opinion makers who said it wouldn’t be should account for their statements.
2. The roof of the CICC did not fall on the heads of the Asean Summit delegates, contrary to the fears of the late great Max Soliven.
3. The airconditioning at the CICC did not pose any problems as it was installed, completed and running well ahead, even of the original summit dates. Mr. Leo Lastimosa, therefore, should account for his column on the matter. In fact, the common complaint during the summit was that the airconditioning was too cold.
4. Contrary to the claim of Mr. Lastimosa that not one of the Asean ministers would ever set foot (“di makataak”) on the CICC, all of the heads of state of the Asean countries and dialogue partners, including their foreign ministers, came to the CICC, and made good use of its facilities.
5. On the whole, the Asean Summit hosting was a success, and even made us proud to be Cebuanos. The doomsayers should account for their dire predictions and their worst unanswered prayers.
“Cuentas claras preservan la amistad”. To be entitled to the public trust, the media should also do some post-summit accounting.
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