Rotary Club of Manila Pro Patria Journalism Awards

Published June 19, 2021, 10:43 AM

by Deedee Siytangco

Angel Thoughts

Happy Father’s Day to all daddies, papas, tatays, amas, who deserve all our love and respect not only today but all the days of their lives. Thank you for the love and care they give their children and the mothers of their children! I had a loving, hard-working, really upright father, Amado R. Munson, who did not always have the funds to give us six children luxuries but who never ran out of love and care for us. He was a businessman and a small-time publisher, who introduced me to the printed word.

The Rotary Club of Manila (RCM), the first in Asia, now 100 years old, dedicated the 2021 Pro Patria Journalism Awards to this year’s Independence Day celebration. It cited several prestigious institutions in the print and digital world of media for their service of the nation.

The RCM Journalism Pro Patria Award and Certificate of Recognition to all the awardees

They were singled out for their resiliency in disseminating fair and truthful information resulting in an informed and enlightened citizenry in these critical times, RCM president Bobby Joseph said. Media is vital to a democracy, Rotarians believe.

Dean Amado D. Valdez, former chairman of the Social Security Commission and chairman of the 2021 RCM’s Journalism Awards, cited these print, TV and Radio institutions for committing valuable resources for the protection of free expression and providing a platform and facilities for constructive criticism of government actions. The members of his committee included Rotary Club of Manila past president Frank A. Evaristo as vice chairman.

RCM President Robert Lim Joseph
Chairman of the Journalism Pro Patria Awards, Frank Evaristo, vice- chairman.
Dean Amado Valdez

The awards in the print media category went to the Manila Bulletin, which was accepted by its publisher Sonny Coloma; the Philippine Star, which was accepted associate editor Marichu Villanueva; the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which was accepted by publisher Juliet Javellana; Manila Times, which was accepted by president and CEO Dante Ang II, the Manila Standard and Journal Group of Companies, which was accepted by Rolando Estabillo; Daily Tribune, which was accepted by Chito Lozaga; Chinese Commercial News, which was accepted by Solomon Yuyintong; Business Mirror, which was accepted by its publisher Anton Cabangon Chua; and BizNewsAsia, which Tony Lopez accepted with bristling words for freedom of media.

The awardees for the TV media category were CNN_Philippines, TV5, GMA, Eagle and Broadcasting Corporation. For radio media category the awards went to Word Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Mindanao Network (RMN), and Manila Broadcasting Company. For club journalism category, the lone individual recognized was Manila Rotarian Albert S. Alday, chairman of the Balita Committee and editor-in-chief of the Balita, the official newsletter of the Rotary Club of Manila.

RCM used to be the forum for the most important political and social issues. We remember two meetings in particular during the martial law years at its regular venue then, the Manila Hotel.

There was a full-house crowd as then President Marcos was the speaker. He had called for a general special elections and running in the opposition slate was Ninoy Aquino’s widow, Cory Aquino. After the speech, Marcos fired a parting shot—“Cory isang bala ka lang (You’re just a bullet).”

He was whisked out of the ballroom on the shoulders of his close-in security men, waving his arms triumphantly. He wore a barong Tagalog with rolled up sleeves, which had blood dripping from his arm. It was whispered that he had been undergoing dialysis.

The next week’s RCM meeting had candidate Corazon Aquino as guest speaker. The ballroom was packed to the rafters. She brought the house down with her retort to Marcos’ “Cory, isang bala ka lang!” She said, “Marcos, isang boto ka lang (You’re only one vote)!”

Back to the RCM awarding ceremonies, there was a brilliant performance by the shadow-play group, the Gamma Penumbra, and a patriotic song by old balladeer Anthony Castelo. Manila Bulletin publisher Sonny Coloma gave the response for the paper.

“In behalf of the men and women of the Manila Bulletin, I wish to thank the Rotary Club of Manila for conferring on our organization the Patriotic Award.

Throughout the pandemic, we have endeavored to deliver the news promptly and accurately to our readers and followers in the Philippines and throughout the world. This has been our commitment since the Manila Bulletin was founded in 1900. Through two world wars, several previous epidemics, Martial Law, natural calamities and disasters, the Manila Bulletin has performed its civic duty, ever mindful of its tradition of being the exponent of Philippine progress.

Today, we reaffirm our abiding commitment to continually inform, inspire, and empower our readers and followers—and to be a force toward building a more resilient and vigorous Filipino nation.”

We are proud of our paper. We congratulate its past and present department heads and editors, journalists, photographers, layout artists, online staff, librarians, and administration officials, headed by our big bosses Emil Yap III and his uncle, Basilio Yap! And we pay homage to our late great Don Emilio Yap whose courage, determination, and foresight sustained and pushed MB to be the No. 1 daily in the country!

Thank you to the Rotary Club of Manila!