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Recuerdos de Ayer: The salad days of Nene Pimentel, journalist

October 23, 2019

  (We are bringing back this updated vignette on Cagayan de Oro’s beloved statesman first published in Business World back in 2006 as our tribute to his heritage to us journalists in the Cagayan de Oro Press Club where he was a member for life.) CAGAYAN de Oro City--Even before he was cutting his teeth as a lawyer and teacher, Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr., without question one of this City of Golden Friendship's Golden Boys, started out as a cub reporter for the Mindanao Star, then the No. 1 weekly newspaper in the city. The late Manuel Quisumbing, Sr., who was fondly known as Mr. Q, was editor-in-chief and the future Senator of the Philippines was in the company of an illustrious band of writers and journalists who represented the cream of Cagayan de Oro's men and women of letters at the time: Sarah Velez, Ronulfo Sabanal, Pureza Ramos, Eustaquio Gonzales. "The newspapers of that time tended to be more tame and sedate than those we have today. News which used to be relegated to the tabloids then are now making headlines in the broadsheets." Eventually, Nene became Legal Counsel for the Cagayan de Oro Press Club when he finished law school and passed the bar. He was also appointed in the same capacity for the Mindanao Press Club in 1963, when Mr. Q became president of that organization. Later, when Nene was elected as the Cagayan de Oro delegate to the Constitutional Convention of the 70's, he rejoined the media as a columnist for Mindanao Star. He also wrote a column for The Manila Times for a year in 1994. We asked, “Is there a basis for government's criticism of today's media as overly critical of the present administration to the point of overlooking its good points and accomplishments?” “There is a basis for the criticism. Negatives are emphasized more than the positives. Crime, sex and violence are sensationalized. However, overall, we are beginning to get responsible reporting. The Philippine Daily Inquirer's battle with the windmills of influence in this country is good for the nation. The Philippine Star is also fast gaining the same reputation.” “However, the print media in Cagayan de Oro today tends to be abrasive and condemnatory of public officials without convincing evidence of their allegations, thus maligning people in the process. Sources are not always verified and grave abuse has been committed in a number of cases. I hope our journalists could be a little more concerned about people even if they are in public office and the basis for complaints regarding the public service should be properly verified.” “On a scale of 1-10, the local print media is 7 on the average, with a lot of room left for improvement. In contrast, newspapermen of Mr. Q's heyday in the Mindanao Star were first and foremost trained to be accurate in their reporting.  Mr. Q was a veteran newspaperman who was also an instructor for the journalism course then offered by Xavier University, and his writing, as well as those of the reporters working under him, were founded on accuracy." The former senator has also authored four legal tomes to date: “The Local Government Code of 1991: The Key to National Development and Barangays” and “The Local Government Code,” both published by Rex Book Store; “Cooperatives: Theory and Practice” and “Primer on Cooperatives,” both published by Cacho Hermanos. However, he is in the process of writing a totally different book entitled “Politics and Religion,” started while he was still in the Senate and which he personally works on a little at a time. The book is based on his experience in politics and reflects his desire “to stress the fact it is time to imbue our political process with a spiritual dimension which should permeate the whole political spectrum.” “We have the spirit of renewal in the hearts of our people as the only Christian nation in the Far East. New generations actively handling political power should not forget we can start renewing only when you go back to the fundamentals of your religion, as long as he believes in God to use his talent and make religion relevant to his life as a citizen.” “The Ten Commandments tell us “Thou shall not steal,” yet politicians steal all the time. It likewise tells us “Thou shall not kill,” yet politicians are probably responsible for more deaths than any other professions.” Nene also wrote a column for Teddy Berbano's “MoneyAsia” and Oscar Jornacion's “California Express,” a Filipino-American newspaper based in the US. Nene never forgot his journalistic roots and at the height of Martial Law in 1982, he signed Executive Order 241 in May 1982 mandating every last week of May as Press Freedom Week, the first ever such celebration in the world, even predating the United Nations declaration of World Press Freedom Day in 1993 by over a decade. Former Cagayan de Oro Press Club President Gerry Orcullo recalls: "But he was not afraid, and because of that unbending courage, we will persevere and continue the search for truth," Orcullo stressed. The Cagayan de Oro media community recently celebrated the 37th anniversary of Cagayan de Oro Press Freedom week last May 26-31, 2019, as it had unfailingly done during the last 37 years. Nene was born on December 11, 1933, in Claveria, Misamis Oriental (coincidentally the same year as the establishment of the Ateneo de Cagayan.  He spent his high school up to law school (1948-1959) at Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan as a bright and remarkable student and leader, earned his law degree and  passed the Bar the 1959. In April 1960, he married Lourdes “Bing” de la Llana, and they had 6 children, among them future senator Koko Pimentel and future Human Rights Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel Gana. Nene became the dean of Xavier's College of Law from 1962 to 1967. The 1967 edition of the Xavier University Yearbook edited by Rico Nazario was dedicated to outstanding XU graduates, among them Nene Pimentel. Nene was XU High School Class 1952 and became dean of the XU Law School in 1967. The tribute to Nene on the 1967 Yearbook reads: “From the class ’52, Aquilino Pimentel Jr. has risen to occupy the seat of the Dean of the College of Law of Xavier University.” “Commenting on his profession, he stated that the practice of law is interesting and challenging. Interesting, because there never is a dull moment in the study and trial of a case. Challenging, because one’s convictions are often put to the test whenever a case is accepted and tried in the courts of law.” And Nene, a former moderator of the Xavier University Law School Journal, never flinched in his defense of press freedom as demonstrated by his successful defense of the two staffers of The Varsitarian, the University of Santo Tomas school paper, in 2011 against a libel case filed against them by one of the country’s most prominent businessmen, who was represented by one of the country’s top law firms. Not only did he help draft their counter-affidavit, but appeared in their behalf during the preliminary investigation that the case never made it to court and was dismissed by the Makati prosecutor. As quoted in the recent editorial by The Philippine Daily Inquirer (URL: https://opinion.inquirer.net/124765/nene-pimentel-speak-out), Pimentel expressed his decision to take on the case: “Speak out when you see something wrong. We are a democracy, that is the job of the people,” he had said time and again.  “One of the most fundamental freedoms accorded to citizens like us who live in a democratic country is the freedom of speech and of the press,” said the closing paragraph of the counter-affidavit he helped draft.  “If no law can abridge our freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, we submit that no whimsical complaint [s]hould be allowed to trample upon the freedom of the press [w]hich we exercised in our student publication with due care and without malice even if the attempt is made by wealthy and presumably powerful individuals,” Pimentel wrote in conclusion of the counter-affidavit. URL: https://varsitarian.net/news/20191020/how-nene-pimentel-freedom-advocate-defended-the-v-in-a-libel-case (Thanks to Ramoncito Ocampo Cruz, XUGS Class 1967 for reconstituting Nene’s picture from this yearbook. Monching is the CEO and President of MUSE Books and Media Wise Communications, publishers of a series of award winning books on the Jesuits and the Ateneos including the latest multi-awarded and internationally recognized On the March: The Jesuits in the Philippines since the Restoration and Jesuits in Mindanao: The Mission.)

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Mindanao Daily represented in China-ASEAN Media Visit

October 23, 2019

Bejing, CHINA – As the People’s Republic of China  marked the 70th anniversary of its founding, the Chinese government designated 2019 as the ASEAN-China Year of Media Exchanges. This was agreed by leaders at the 21st ASEAN-China Summit held in Singapore in November 2018.  For the occasions, the Mission of China to ASEAN, in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat, and the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN  organized a visit of ASEAN Media Delegation to China.  Each ASEAN nation sent  two media practitioners representing various media companies, and Mindanao Daily News Corporation was lucky to be selected as a Philippine participant to the said Media Visit.  Allan M. Mediante, Editor in Chief and Vice President for Corporate Affairs represented Mindanao Daily on that 1st Media Visit which ran from October 13 to October 19. He also gave a message to the hosts and delegates during the Welcome Banquet at Bijuan Hotel in Bejing. The head of the delegation, Counselor Gao Huijun of the China Mission to ASEAN,  and Zhang Jinting,  Vice President of  China Report Press, Chairman of Beijing MW Foundation & Secretary General  of Chinese Corporate International Communication Advisory Committee also delivered their messages to the delegation. Countries represented on that first occasion were:  the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia,  Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar  and China.  On October 14, the delegation visited the China Central Television (CCTV) of China Media Group (CMG) and interacted with the company officials. The discussions and presentations focused on the development of digital media in China. The China Media Group which was formally established just last year (April 19, 2018), is now one of the largest media conglomerates in the world.  It was created through the merger of China Central Television  (incorporating China Glonal Television Network), China National Radio and China Radio International. CMG operates a vast broadcasting network. CMG has built the world’s largest audio-visual archive from its rich, high-quality news content resources.  It has laid out the ground-breaking strategic plan of “5G+4K/8K+Al” and assembled the first state-level 5G new media platform.  It has pioneered the production and broadcasting techniques in the 8K format. It also established China’s first 4K resolution satellite channel. CMG has entered into comprehensive cooperation agreements with more than 100 overseas media institutions, establishing varied and broad partnerships in news content sharing, programme co-production, personnel visits and broadcasting technology exchanges.  The delegation also visited and listened to presentations on Huawei Technology at  the Huawei Corporation’s main office, also in Beijing. Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT), infrastructure and smart devices.  It aims to bring knowledge and appreciation of digital technology to people and organizations for a fully-connected intelligent world. Huawei employs 188,00 workers and operates in more than 170 countries and regions, serving 3 billion people around the globe. It provides customers with competitive, high quality and secure products, digital solutions and services in the field of telecommunications, information technology, smart terminals and cloud services.  Huawei’s innovations  focus on customer needs. The company invests heavily on basic research and technological breakthroughs. At the Xiaomi (MI) Corp press conference, the delegation learned how the world-renowned smart phone manufacturer and internet company rose to prominence in international business and modern technology. It was only a year ago when Xiaomi  launched operations in 80 countries and regions. Now it is a front-runner in mobile phone markets, smart hardware and ICT platforms in more than 30 countries and regions, (they have 4 stores in the Philippines, including one at the SM Mall in Cagayan de Oro City). Dr. Baoqiu Cui, Xiaomi Vice President  and chairman of Technical Committee commented that the secret of their company’s success and meteoric rise to prominence  is “Quality and Honest Pricing.”  Also at hand to give presentations of their product lines and technology were the officers of Xiaomi, Christine Wong, VP for Internation Affairs; Yong He, VP for Public Affairs; and Yuou Chen, Public Affairs Manager for Southeast Asia. The delegates’  itinerary included attendance  to  the Launching of  China-ASEAN Young Leaders Scholarship Program at  Peking University in Beijing on October 15. No less than Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta Romana addressed the event.  Qiu Shuiping, chairman of Peking &University Council gave his welcome remarks.  Mao Ning, Deputy Director of the Department of Asian Affairs, China Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and ASEAN Deputy Sec General Kung Phoak,  also addressed the morning affair on October 15. The establishment of this program/ project was personally announced by Chinese Premier Li Kequiang at the 2018 China-ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting held in Singapore. The scholarship program aims to enhanced cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and ASEAN countries. It was one of the fastest undertaking of China and ASEAN. It is now helping students from ASEAN countries to attain degree programs and short-term training courses in well-known Chinese universities, contributing to human resources development and community-building among ASEAN nations.  The China-ASEAN Media Visit aims to: 1. Strengthen people-to-people exchanges and communication between China and ASEAN media sectors and contribute to closer bond of friendship between China and ASEAN;  2. Improve understanding and knowledge of ASEAN media professionals on China’s development, its domestic and foreign policies and its history and culture. 3. Exchange views on the trends and progress in media development in ASEAN and China, share experiences and best practices and identify cooperation opportunities between the media sectors of ASEAN and China. 4. Establish a network among media professionals and experts from ASEAN countries and China. In Beijing, the delegation also visited government agencies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Development and Reform Commission, where they met Chinese government officials and discuss issues such as China’s foreign policy, ASEAN-China relations, and the Belt and Road Initiative among others. On October 17, the delegation flew to Guangxi and met officials from the Autonomous Region Government. The delegation visited also the venue of China-ASEAN Expo, and learned more about the strong ties between ASEAN and this region of China.  They also went to poverty-alleviation projects, one of which was supported by the Guanxi Mingming Fruits Industry Co. Ltd.  located at Wuming District of Nanning City, Guangxi Province. During the visit, the delegation had the opportunity to engage with local community leaders who talked about the project that involved land leasing and working on their own farms to grow world-quality orange fruits  locally known as Orah. The whole delegation was composed of 20 representatives from media of ASEAN -member states and China who are senior editors, journalists and feature writers, and officials from the ASEAN Secretariat, i.e. Wibowo Dwiky Chandra of Indonesia, ASEAN Secretariat officer;  Un Rithy – Director of Agence Kampuchea, and Director General Ministry of Information Cambodia; Ong Hongleang – Deputy Director of Kampuchea; Muhammad Yusuf Ghazali – Exec. Producer of Televisi Republik of Indonesia; Yedi Yulistiadi – Exec. Producer, Radio Republik Indonesia; Khonesavanh Latsaphao – Vientiane Times, Laos; Sompasong Sayavong – Chief Editor KPL Lao News Agency, Laos; Yasmin Ahmad Zukiman of BERNAMA (Malaysian News Agency); Mohamed Zamzuri Bin Mohamed Zawawi – Editor of RTM (Dept of Broadcasting Malaysia); Moe Thur Zar – of Myanmar Radio TV, Ministry of Information; Sandar Soe – Editor Printing & Publishing, Myanmar Ministry of Information; Clyde Hikilan – Hope Radio, Philippines; Minthira Saenkaew – Workpoint Entertainment Public Company Ltd of  Thailand;  Nalin Arurotayanont also of Workpoint, Thailand;  Pham Huong Giang of Information Center, Ministry of Information of Vietnam;  and Nuyen Lan Phuong of Information and Communication Journal of Vietnam. The delegation was also assisted  by officials from the Mission of China to ASEAN and China Report : Liu Jiang – Director of General Editorial Department; Wang Kan – Project Director, Research and Planning Department; Guo Meng – Project Manager Research and Planning; Liu Yang – Project Operator Research 7 Planning; Wei Jialin – English Editor of China Report ASEAN, and Ma Pan, and Cheng Ting, Liaison Officers of the  Guangxi Foreign Affairs Ministry. 

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Chaos as ACT Teacher congressman insists on barging into wounded teacher's room

October 23, 2019

Police securing Zhydee Cabañelez, the teacher who escape a slay try in Valencia City, could only stand stoic as ACT Teacher Rep. France Castro berated and verbally castigated them for not allowing her entry to the victim's hospital room Wednesday afternoon in Valencia City. Castro, who claimed Cabañelez was a member of ACT Teacher Partylist, was in Valencia City to visit the wounded teacher. Zhydee Cabañelez, in an interview with PIA, said she is not a member of ACT Teacher. The partylist representative arrived at the hospital in Valencia City along with some supporters and insisted on entering the hospital room of Cabañelez. However, police prevented her citing prior request for "privacy" from the victim's immediate relatives. This irked Castro and started questioning the presence of police in the hospital. "Our presence in the hospital premises, particularly within the confinement area of Mrs Cabañelez is not of our own liking," Valencia City police chief Lt. Col. Surki Sereñas said. "We were requested to secure the victim confined in the hospital." Northern Mindanao regional police director Brigadier Rafael Santiago defended his men. "It is our mandate to safeguard the people particularly the oppressed and this particular situation is one of them," Santiago said. "The police cannot be remiss on our sworn duty to serve and protect the people. We have been gaining headway in our campaign to end local communist armed conflict in this part of the region. We are actually winning the war and when we say we are with the President in his initiative to end this armed conflict, we really mean it."

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Cops, Officer's ladies club participate in community outreach program in Dinagat Islands

October 20, 2019

 Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 and its Officer's Ladies Club (OLC) headed by Madame Elvie Esquivel, the wife of PRO13 Director Brigadier General Joselito Esquivel Jr. took part in the activity held in Brgy. Carmen, Loreto town on October 17, 2019.  The outreach program was held in partnership with Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines, Surigao Optometric Society, Local Government Unit and Go Serbisyo-United Caraga.  More than 1,000 residents from Brgy Carmen and nearby communities received free basic services like acupuncture, medical and dental check up, tooth extraction, and giving of free medicines, umbrellas and slippers.  According to RD Esquivel Jr, more outreach programs have been lined to reach out the less fortunate families in the region and to foster stronger police-community ties.  The PRO13 OLC is comprised of wives of police commissioned officers in Caraga.

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PDP Laban founder & former senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr passes away at 85

October 20, 2019

Cagayan de Oro's pride former senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr died at the age of 85. The fightingest senator of Mindanao has fought many battles in his lifetime to defend the constitution, the people and the government during his early years in politics.  "Nene" as fondly called by closest friends and associates suffered from lymphoma before he died. Lymphoma, is a cancer that begins in infection-fighting cells of the immune system, called lymphocytes. These cells are in the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and other parts of the body. A report from the immediate family has it that before Pimental died, he was brought to the intensive care unit of one of the biggest and prestigious hospitals in Metro Manila. The family also told the media, Nene was already very ill and he was currently undergoing treatment. The senator was survived by his wife Bing and six children, including his son Aquilino Pimentel III, who also became Senate President for a short period of time. The late Pimentel founded the current majority party  PDP Laban in 1982, where President Rodrigo also made a coalition and won in the last elections for President. With Duterte's overwhelming support from the masses, PDP Laban became the ruling political party in the Philippines. It was then a regional political party in Mindanao. Duterte made it to become the leading political party in the history of Philippine politics.  

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Teacher who cheated death denies membership with ACT party list group

October 19, 2019

MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon - An elementary school teacher who was a victim of shooting has strongly denied she has links with the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) party-list group, which could have caused the shooting incident inside her classroom on October 15.  In an interview, Zhydee said they were once invited by ACT to attend a forum in Valencia City in 2016 but they were not informed that their attendance would constitute membership with ACT. “That was the only occasion that I had a glimpse with the ACT group—and that was three years ago. Definitely, I am not an ACT member,” she said. The shooting Tuesday morning of a husband and wife teachers during classes by four gunmen at the Dalit Elementary School, Lumbayao, Valencia City was unprecedented here, observers said. Media reports said that Zhydee Cabañelez and husband Ramel were with her pupils in her classroom when the four men barged in at about eight o’clock in the morning and shot her. Ramil escaped unhurt. In the commotion that followed, the motorcycle-riding gunmen fled the scene. The blooded Zhydee with gunshot wounds believed to be that of a caliber .45 pistol, seriously injured her.  Zhydee was taken to a hospital in Valencia City by folks. She is recuperating at press time as Valencia City police chief Surki Sereñas provides her security at the hospital. Schools division superintendent of Valencia Dr. Victoria Gazo suspended the October 17 and 18 second periodical test slated in said school and conducted stress debriefing to pupils, parents, and teachers a day after the incident.   Gazo said the Department of Education (DepEd) Northern Mindanao gave P37,000 cash assistance, while DepEd central office allotted P100,000 financial aid. The local government of Valencia also committed to shoulder part of the hospital’s surgical bill. As this developed, media here have unconfirmed reports saying that the father of Zhydee was with the New People’s Army (NPA) years ago but turned himself to the government already.  The father's past connection with the rebels bolsters public suggestion that the said school shooting incident could have been done by the NPA. (RLRB, PIA Bukidnon)

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