Some days ago several places south of Manila were blanketed by “smog” or vog (volcanic particles in the air) that came from Taal Volcano in Batangas. Many classes were even suspended and about 50 people were reported to have fallen ill because of the “bad” air. The experts advised people residing in the affected areas to stay home if they didn’t have any important appointments and to wear N95 masks if they absolutely needed to venture outside.
For several years now, I believe, residents in many urban cities in the country have had to deal with smog or heavily polluted air, especially in the morning. We have been breathing unhealthy air for a while now, and in fact, many patients have developed allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions because of it.
While it seems that we can do very little to control the smog coming from the volcano, we take significant steps to eradicate or lessen the man-made pollution in the air. I am hoping the proper agencies and organizations will step up their campaigns for cleaner air, especially in the country’s polluted cities.
It’s been almost 150 days since the Hollywood writers have been on strike in America. As of this writing, the studio executives and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) are still talking, hoping to reach a compromise that would end the extended strike that has shut down film and TV production for months now.
On local shores, I think we’ve all seen the new AI-generated sportscasters that GMA Network recently introduced to the public. You see, limiting the use of AI technology is one of the issues being laid down by the WGA writers as they claim it could devalue their work and put many jobs on the line. One doesn’t have to be a genius to foresee that this is going to be a problem here later on.
So how is the local labor force preparing for this inevitable scenario? At the moment, we don’t even have strong guilds or associations like the WGA. Perhaps it is about time, even if it’s a little late, that professionals banded together to organize themselves so they can fight for their rights when that time comes.
There are organizations like the Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippines, the Philippine Sportswriters Association, Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas, the Filipino Screenwriters Guild, and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines that are trying to bring professional writers together so they can campaign for their causes. But not one is yet as strong as the WGA. And so with the rapid acceptance and utilization of AI technology everywhere—certainly including the Philippines—forming stronger associations or alliances should be one of the priorities now.