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A public servant and a Journalist

Armed with a lot of frustrations, skepticisms and questions, this column is back after hibernating for more than a year.

I have to admit that being an opinion writer and a journalist for about 40 years has not really alleviated my social status in terms of family income.

I started working as a public servant in 1978. I served Presidents Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos until I retired in 2004 during the incumbency of Pres. Gloria Arroyo.

A freelance journalist, until the Office of the Press Secretary rehired me on contract in 2011 until Arroyo’s term ended then.

Serving as a writer, my contract continued during the administration of Pres. Noynoy Aquino under the Presidential Communications Operation Office (PCOO).

As a Mindanaoan, the CYNOSURE was one of the opinion writers who supported Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte’s Presidency in 2016.

As a Mindanaoan, my support on Duterte’s presidency was too personal for comfort. To see a President coming from Mindanao was then a personal advocacy. I did not join any Duterte group, much less, desired recognition.

When Duterte was elected President in 2016, the PCOO renewed my contract. One year after, members of the Duterte’s presidential cheering squad were hired to occupy sensitive posts in Malacañang.

New faces armed with the backing of Duterte’s campaign staff came in. These inexperienced souls, then hired people closely identified with them. For me, it was time to go.

It is worth reiterating that as an opinion writer and a journalist for over 40 years has not improved my standard of living.

Until now, I haven’t finished a house to the consternation of my partner. My only consolation is sending my kids to college. Unlike in other countries, there is truth to the adage that “journalist in the Philippines starves.”

However, there are colleagues in the media profession who lived comfortably. Perhaps, with connections in the business and political sectors these colleagues might have found fortunes. I am happy for them.

Perhaps, one of the many drawbacks that I have is that I always adhere to the principle that an independent journalist has no friends.

On the contrary, as news makers, I know that some politicians are magnanimous. I also know that some politicians are only good in “double talk” and “lip service.”

One day, I might ask colleagues about secrets on how to acquire beautiful houses, cars, lucrative businesses and comfortable lives.

In the meantime, let us go back to work, I mean writing opinions.

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