The Congressional Office of Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro) has organized a search committee which aims to identify pioneering journalists of the Cagayan de Oro’s Fourth Estate for the purpose of honoring and perpetuating their legacy for the generations to come, in partnership with the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental Chapter.

“We will seek to identify deceased the pioneering newspaper men, columnists, and radio commentators who molded and influenced the minds of Kagay-anons with these posthumous recognitions so they could serve to inform and inspire our youth,” said Rep. Rodriguez during the group’s first meeting held October 17 at the Abamin Office in Bgy. Nazareth.

The Congressional Media Pioneer Awards Organizing Committee gives a thumbs up with Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez (center)/ photo by Kyla Marie Ibarra, CDO 2nd Congressional District Office

Present were senior members of the Oro media including Froilan Gallardo (MindaNews), Rey Maraunay (RMN DxCC), Zaldy Ocon (Strong Radio), Ruffy Magbanua (Mindanao Daily News), Jeff Baconga (Radyo Bandera), Ardizon Arsua (Strong Radio), and Mike Baños (Metro CDO Times/CDOBloggers). Also invited but unable to attend were Frank Mendez (Radyo Ultra/COPC Press Club President) and Herbie Gomez (Rappler).

Some of Cagayan de Oro City’s Pioneer Radio and Print Journalists.

Aside from the media, it was also decided to organize an independent search committee in partnership with civil society to identify and verify the credentials of the journalists to be honored so an objective, transparent and impartial selection process would be observed.

Members of the academe, NGOs and religious sectors were suggested as members of the independent search committee including the faculty of COC-Phinma (MassCom), USTP (TCM), Xavier Ateneo (DevCom), LiceoU(MassCom), Lourdes College (MassCom), Social Communications Apostolate (Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro) and Balay Mindanaw (NGO).

An early photo of Ang Katarungan staff and personnel (courtesy of the Neri Clan)

Cagayan de Oro has a much esteemed legacy of its Fourth Estate, as pioneered by the Cagayan de Oro Press Club, the oldest existing press club in the Philippines which was organized on November 11, 1951.

Noli Olarte Sr with Pura Navales & Lilin Macapayag (photo courtesy of Pura Navales)

As related in a memoir by the late Noli Olarte, Sr., editor-in-chief of the De Oro News Express, “it was actually an informal gathering of pioneer Cagayan de Oro media practitioners, mostly from two local weekly newspapers– The Mindanao Star and Ang Katarungan, and Henry Canoy who was then struggling hard to build a radio station out of discarded US Army surplus broadcast equipment.”

Don Henry Canoy (courtesy of RMN Foundation)

Among the others present in the seminal event held at the residence of Virginia Paraiso who used to write a society column for The Mindanao Star; were Jose Burgos, publisher-editor of The Mindanao StarBienvenido S. Cruz, then publisher of the Pioneer Press newspaper in Cebu;  Manuel V. Quisumbing Sr., editor of Ang KatarunganEustaquio B. Gonzales, representing Don Vicente Neri San Jose, publisher of Ang Katarungan (the name Ang Bag-ong Katarungan was coined during martial law (1972) by Augusto “Totoy” Neri, who inherited it from his father.), Jose EF Reyes, father of Edmund Reyes of the Philippine Movement for Press FreedomCesario Gaane, associate editor of The Mindanao StarCarmelito Cataylo, editorial writer of The Mindanao Star, and Olarte Sr. then a cub reporter for Joe Burgos.

Engr Robin N. Cui Sr. (standing right) Oncoy Padero & Henry Canoy (2nd & 3rd from left standing) with early 1950s DXCC staff

As the ever witty then cub reporter recalls: “The gathering of newsmen and budding writers was there, not actually to get organized as a press club, but to help eat the lechon and other sumptuous preparations of Mrs. Paraiso who was celebrating her birthday.”

First Oro Jaycees meeting 1950 organized by Bienvenido S. Cruz (circled).

Elected officers of the first Cagayan de Oro Press Club were Virginia “Ginny” Paraiso, president; Bienvenido “Bien” Cruz, vice president; Jose “Joe” Burgos, secretary’; and Cesario “Ciling” Reyes, treasurer.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.