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Oro Media Pioneers to be Honored

By Mike Baños

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.

Ang Katarungan Agosto 7, 1948

“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.

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

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).

Eustaquio Gonzales (right) was fluent in both Spanish & Egnlis, here with Dodo Abellanosa.

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 Ministry (Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro) and Balay Mindanaw (NGO).

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.

Don Henry Canoy (courtesy of RMN Foundation) color

Don Henry Canoy (courtesy of RMN Foundation)

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.”

Ang Katarungan staff and personnel

Among those present in the seminal event held at the residence of Virginia Paraiso who used to write a society column for The Mindanao StarJose 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.

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.”

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.

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