Yap on MB's 123rd anniversary: Still the exponent of PH progress

Despite the economic challenges and social upheaval brought about by the Covid-19 in the past two years, the Manila Bulletin (MB) remains true to its commitment to be the exponent of Philippine progress.

MB President Dr. Emil C. Yap III attributed the company's resilience during the most pivotal and tumultuous events of the country's recent history to its strong workforce composed of its editorial staff, marketing, production workers and all of its support staff.

Not even the Covid-19 pandemic could stop MB from doing what it has been called to do for the last 123 years -- to deliver the news, shape minds, and fully inform the nation, Yap noted.

"This is the first time since 2019, and that was four years ago — that we have this opportunity to gather all of you," Yap said in his address during the MB's 123rd anniversary celebration held at the Manila Hotel on Thursday, February 2.

"Three years ago, in January 2020, we announced that we would postpone our 120th-anniversary celebration – in deference to the calamity brought on by the violent eruption of Taal Volcano,"

"Like all of you, we had no inkling of what was forthcoming: the onset of the covid-19 pandemic," he pointed out.

Inevitably, Yap said enforcement of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) by the Duterte administration severely limited the publishing company's ability to distribute its newspapers outside of Metro Manila.

"Yet we were able to publish our print edition every day — thanks to the dedication, commitment and perseverance of our reporters, writers, production workers and support staff," Yap said.

"We were also able to reach our varied audience through online and digital platforms, and through social media networks," he pointed out.

Even though the recession constrained MB's operations, its loyal advertisers continued their patronage, even as their own business operations were curtailed severely.

"One of the important lessons we all learned is that we need to stand together in times of crisis," he said.

"So many members of our community stepped up to do their part: the motorcycle riders who delivered our food and provisions, the security guards and police officers who kept our homes and communities safe and the frontliners who fought a courageous battle against a contagious disease," MB's president emphasized.

"We salute their dedication and courage at a time of severe crisis," he stressed.

Yap further thanked MB's partners in progress, including First Lady Marie Louise "Liza" Araneta-Marcos, who graced MB's 123rd anniversary event.

He then highlighted MB's simple, yet meaningful celebration with a toast together with the First Lady, MB Publishing Corp. Chairman Basilio C. Yap, the members of the MB Board of Directors Benjamin Yap, Anthony Joseph Gaw, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, former Secretary Alberto Romulo, Atty. Juan De Zuñiga Jr.; MB Editor-in-Chief Loreto Cabañes, and MB Publisher Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr.

Among those who attended MB's 123rd simple, yet festive event, were Senators Cynthia Villar, Francis Tolentino, Loren Legarda, Bulacan Rep. Salvador Pleyto, Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza, OFW party list Rep. Marissa Magsino snd former House Speaker Jose De Venecia.

Also present were Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, and SC Spokesperson Atty. Brian Hosaka.

Likewise attending the event were San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora and Malabon City Mayor Jeannie Sandoval.

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco were also in attendance. Members of the diplomatic corps, business leaders, local chief executives also graced MB's event.

"As we emerge from the shadows of Covid, we look ahead to a more stable and robust future," Yap said.

"To all of you — our friends, members of our audience, business partners, and stewards of public trust — we pledge our commitment to continually inform, inspire and empower and to be an exponent of Philippine progress," he further assured.