“Truth Shall Prevail” has always been a daunting mission, if only because of its certainty.
We say “truth” because we believe it paves the way for justice. We say “prevail,” meaning truth emerges victorious, seemingly inevitably. Implicit is what it trumps: a society built on deceit, with its history erased and its citizens unfree, or worse, unmoved.
But as the advent of disinformation reveals, searching for truth and upholding it are two separate beasts. This is a challenge The Philippine STAR refuses to shy away from. As editor-in-chief Ana Marie Pamintuan writes, “Getting both sides of a story is not enough; both sides may be wrong, deliberately misleading the public, or obfuscating facts for their own purposes. An inherent task of the journalist is to get the truth out, based not just on he said, she said, but on reliable data-driven analysis and, when possible, investigative efforts.”
As the paper celebrates its 37th year, it returns to its core mission of truth with the two-part anniversary special The Truthtellers. Truth, after all, only prevails because of people who make the deliberate choice and active action to fight for it.
In both issues, the first published today, every story is written by a Truthteller, hailing from different sectors like public service, education, sports, technology, culture, and more. This signifies that truth has no single face, and the task of building a fair society falls on every single person within it.
As in life, truth is rarely easy. Senator Risa Hontiveros, in a personal essay, writes, “If we seek to represent and live out the values that define our truest selves, we must be willing to get uncomfortable.”
It is more dynamic than we think. Historian Kristoffer Pasion has gone beyond “that feel-good view that history’s purpose is to find ‘pride’ in being Filipino” and contends that “history, in all its fullness, is so much more.” Professor and researcher Jonathan Corpus Ong declares that to fight disinformation, we must recognize that “it's not just a neat binary of true versus false.”
It forces us to face what we may be unprepared for. Olympian EJ Obiena says, “At this time and age, our government and sports agencies are not fully prepared yet to consistently produce world-class athletes.” Sociologist Ash Presto says social studies “commonly find itself on the defensive side” and offers a multipronged argument to include it in our curriculum.
The truth is that we feel hopeless, but the truth is we are not alone.
It can be easy, then, to feel despondent. Many of the Truthtellers, including the section’s editorial team, are young; several are still students. While hopelessness is not a trait exclusive to Gen Z, it’s undeniably palpable, and it seems the deeper we dig into the truth, the more doomed we feel. My peers and I were slung into K-12’s pilot run; we graduated college having spent more than half of it at home. It feels as if we had run out of time when our lives are supposedly only beginning.
We persist, still, because we see the finish line. Truth prevails.
As we worked on the issue, as we implored people to tell us their truths, community became a common theme. The truth is that we feel hopeless, but the truth is we are not alone. The truth is we can and will continue to rely on the people around us. And the truth is we have done this many times throughout our history.
“I remember how empires, colonizers, and dictators have fallen in the past through young revolutionaries fighting alongside the most marginalized sectors,” climate justice activist Mitzi Jonelle Tan writes. “The future that we are fighting for already exists in small pockets of resistance.”
Behind every story in this two-part anniversary special is a Truthteller, and every Truthteller bears a message of hope. Each bears a message of solidarity.
In our search for truth, we found each other. I don’t think it’s foolish to deem that enough to keep going.