A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Introduction

Introduction

Journal, the root word of journalism, came from the Latin word diurnal, which means daily. In ancient Rome, brief communiqués were called Acta Diurna, which means Daily Events. Others were called Acta Publica, which means Public Events.

Journalism, the art and science of writing for newspapers, periodicals, radio, television, and online publications, enfolds timely and factual reports of unusual or unexpected events, opinions, or situations that affect man and his environment. These reports are gathered, evaluated, and published, broadcast, or posted on the Web to inform, to entertain, or to influence large number of readers.

The history of journalism started in ancient Egypt when heralds ran to pharaohs with oral reports and when town criers sang important announcements in public places. The first printed newspaper, produced from wood blocks, appeared in Beijing, China in the Seventh and in the Eight Centuries.

When Johan Guttenberg of Mainz, Germany invented the movable printing press in 1450, wider and faster dissemination of news stories were made possible. It also facilitated the exchange of ideas throughout Europe and the spread of the ideas of the Renaissance from 1300 to 1600.

On September 25, 1690, Benjamin Harris, an English refugee, published the Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick, the first American newspaper, in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1783, the Daily Advertisers and the Pennsylvania Evening Post, the first daily American newspapers, were published in Philadelphia.

The Gentleman’s Magazine, published from 1731 to 1907, was the first periodical to use the word magazine that denotes a vehicle of entertaining reading. It contained political essays, poems, stories, and debates and was very influential, serving for example, as the model for the American Magazine of Andrew Bradford and the General Magazine and Historical Chronicle of Benjamin Franklin, the first true American periodicals.

Next: A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Early Years

A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Early Years

The Philippine press, which is committed to the great heritage of libertarianism, is one of the freest, liveliest, and strongest in Asia and in the world. Throughout the ages, it has perpetuated a formidable tradition of service, which is the fortification of our sovereign life.

Its sustainable growth and development provides gratifying and fascinating footnotes of our historical revolutions. It started in 1637 when Tomas Pinpin, the father of Filipino printing, published the Successos Felices, the first Philippine newspaper that antedated Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick for 53 years.

Pinpin, who learned the art of printing from Father Francisco Blancas de San Jose, the parish priest of Abucay, Bataan and founder of the Dominican-owned printing press in Binondo, Manila and in Pila, Laguna, devoted his 14 – page newspaper to the raids of Muslim pirates in the country.

Hojas Volantes, with the title Aviso Al Publico, was distributed for mass readership in the Philippines and acted as town criers of Spain in the country on February 27, 1799. Although it appeared intermittently in the next 50 years, it was only on August 8, 1811 when the Spaniards put out the Del Superior Govierno, the first regularly issued newspaper edited by Governor General Manuel (Mariano?) Fernandez Del Folgueras. It gave news about the Napoleonic invasion in Spain and was a potent weapon in the fight for emancipation. It ceased publication after 15 issues over a six-month period.

Published on March 25, 1821, El Ramillete Patriotico was a liberal and audacious newspaper. It was sarcastic and sometimes unbridled in its speech of degenerating personalities. Another newspaper, El Noticioso Filipino, was published on July 29, 1821.

La Filantropía, a weekly newspaper dealing with current issues from Europe and the arrivals and departures of vessels in Manila, was dedicated to the “welfare of the people in the language that is not offensive to the sane moral of the public.” Printed in papel de arroz (rice paper), it first appeared on September 1, 1821 and ceased publication in 1822. It was followed by El Filantropo, a relatively small newspaper that lasted a year, and the Noticias Compiladas de los Papeles Publicos de la Peninsula both in 1824.

Founded by the Real Sociedad Economica de Amigos del Pais and edited by Luis Barreto, Jose Azcarraga, Manuel Azcarraga, Marcelo Azcarraga, and Jose Nicolas Irastorza in 1824, the Registro Mercantil de Manila was a monthly newspaper that worked for economic prosperity and political independence, but ceased publication in May 1833 because of lack of financial support and regular subscribers. El Noticiero followed it in 1838.

In 1843, Gregorio Tarrius, the Administrator of Posts, founded the Semanario Filipino that published business news from Asia, Europe, and the Archipelago. It was renamed El Amigo del Pais in 1845, but ceased publication in April 1847. La Estrella, a weekly newspaper founded by Agustin de la Cavada y Mendez de Vigo on October 4, 1846, became a daily newspaper on February 1, 1847, but was suspended in January 1849.

La Esperanza, the first daily newspaper filled with long discussions about religious, scientific, historical, and philosophical subjects, was also founded by Agustin de la Cavada y Mendez de Vigo, was edited by Felipe de la Corte y Ruano Calderon, and was published by Miguel Sanchez on December 1, 1846. It also published official and commercial news and advertisements.

When El Diario de Manila was founded on January 1, 1848, La Estrella and La Esperanza ceased publication and relinquished the monopoly to the Boletin Oficial de Filipinas, the daily government organ from 1852 to 1860. However, when the latter was renamed the Gaceta de Manila by a Royal Order on May 18, 1860, El Diario de Manila reappeared in September 1860.

Edited by José Felipe Del Pan, El Diario de Manila became not only the best-edited newspaper, but also one that had long, prosperous, and continuous circulation until 1899. Its editorial staff included José de la Rosa, Manuel Garrido, Manuel Marzano, Lorenzo Moreno Conde, Francisco Ramos Borguella, Francisco de Paula Martinez, and Antonio Vazquez de Aldana.

El Instructor, 1849; El Despertador, 1849; Diario de Avisos y Noticias, 1850; El Observador Filipino, 1851; Boletin Oficial de Filipinas, 1852, and El Commercio, 1858, followed the Diario. The latter, not an example of correctness, tidiness of language, and civility in reasoning, was an afternoon newspaper edited by Soler Ovejero, an army officer.

A fortnightly that opened a new era in the history of Philippine journalism because it had sustained its reviews, sketches, biographies, news about the country, and literary and scientific sections, the Ilustracion Filipina was published on March 1, 1859 and ceased publication on December 15, 1860.

Published on February 26, 1861, the Gaceta de Manila, a weekly government newspaper that published official documents and announcements, ceased publication on August 8, 1898. It was followed by the Revista de Noticias y Anuncios, 1861, La España Catolica, 1862, and La España Oceánica, 1862.

With the slogan “Religious Unity,” El Catolico Filipino was founded by Father Pedro Pelaez and was published by Father Mariano Sevilla on February 1, 1862. Though it was the first religious newspaper in the country, Fray Agapito Aparicio charged it as a political newspaper masquerading beneath the cloak of religion. El Correo de Filipinas was published in 1863.

Next: A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Revolutionary Period

A History of Journalism in the Philippines – American Colonial Period

by Alixander Haban Escote

Although Gen Emilio Aguinaldo and his revolutionary government proclaimed Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898 and established the First Philippine Republic in Malolos, Bulacan on January 23, 1899, President William McKinley and Admiral George Dewey planned to take over the Philippines and forced the surrender of Spanish forces inside Intramuros. With the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898 and the Treaty with Spain on November 7, 1900, the United States of America acquired the sovereignty over the Philippines.

As the Spanish-American War was being fought, La Democracia, the first Filipino newspaper that recognized American sovereignty in the country, urged the Filipino people to accept the new government and to help heal the wounds of war. Edited by Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, it was the official publication of the pro-American Partido Federalista, the first political party organized on December 23, 1900 by 125 Filipino illustrados.

Besides La Independencia and El Heraldo dela Revolucion, other Filipino newspapers were also published as the Americans established their military government in the country. Among these was La Patria, the newspaper that openly championed freedom and independence and directly challenged La Democracia. Published by Pablo Ocampo and edited by Rafael Palma and Aurelio Tolentino, it was closed by Gen Arthur McArthur, the father of Gen Douglas McArthur9.

The closure of La Patria and the assertion of American military rule did not dampen the newspaper industry. Unfazed, Pablo Ocampo published La Libertad and continued to fight for freedom and independence. As a result, the American military authorities banned the newspaper, and its publisher was exiled to Guam for two years.

Meanwhile, Rafael Palma, a lawyer, educator, and social scientist, founded El Nuevo Dia, Cebu’s first daily newspaper, on April 6, 1900. In collaboration with the then Speaker Sergio Osmeña Sr.10 and Commissioner Jaime Carlos de Veyra, Palma criticized American military rule. In the end, the newspaper was severely censored and as a sign of protest, it came out with large blacked-out pages that ostracized the Americans who championed freedom of the press and expression in their country, but censored them in the Philippines.

El Grito del Pueblo and its sister publication in Tagalog, Kapatid ng Bayan, edited by Pascual Poblete, and El Filipino Libre, published by Manuel Xeres Burgos, also cried for freedom and independence and criticized American military rule.

On the other hand, English language newspapers were published to cater the needs of the American reading public: Bounding Billow, published aboard US Olympia;11 Official Gazette, published by the American military government; American Soldier, published for a month with some 20 issues; and Soldier’s Letter, published by the 18th Minnesota Volunteers in the US Army. These newspapers had common point of view: “These islands were rich untapped sources of American wealth and capital. The natives, half-devil and half-child, insist on playing government: a group of warlike tribes who will devour each other the moment American troops leave.”

On October 11, 1898, Thomas Gowan, an Englishman rather than an American, edited and published the Manila Times, the first continually published English language daily newspaper in the country. In 1899, George Seliner joined the Manila Times as business manager and later bought the newspaper from Gowan. Seliner sold it in 1902, reacquired it in 1905, and sold it again in 1907.

The then Senate President Manuel Quezon12 bought the Manila Times in 1917. During his ownership, the newspaper was generally staffed by Filipinos, a pattern followed by Governor General Francis Burton Harrison13 in Filipinizing the government. In 1921, Quezon, who found out that politics and journalism are like oil and water that could never be mixed well, sold the newspaper to George Fairchild, a Hawaiian senator engaged in the sugar industry. Politically speaking, the newspaper became the mouthpiece of American politicians and businessmen and was intensely pro-American and anti-Filipino. In 1926, Fairchild sold the newspaper to Jacob Rosenthal, a businessmen engaged in the shoe industry.

Alejandro Roces Sr., the father of modern journalism in the Philippines, bought the Manila Times in 1927. At that time, he was also the owner of the TVT chain of newspapers: Taliba, La Vanguardia, and Manila Tribune. Roces founded the latter on April 1, 1925 when he failed to purchase the Philippine Herald.

Because of its substantial editorial pages and wide international coverage, the Manila Tribune, edited by Carlos Romulo,14 the Philippine Herald former editor, and staffed by Mauro Mendez, Benito Sakdalan, Amando Dayritt, Roberto Anselmo, and Fernando Maramag became the most informative and most entertaining newspaper in the 1920s. The Tribune Magazine, its weekly supplement, had a circulation of 40,000 during weekdays and 80,000 during weekends.

On March 15, 1930, Roces stopped the publication of the Manila Times, but continued the publication of the Manila Tribune, which became a morning newspaper, and the Philippine Herald, which became an afternoon newspaper. After World War II, Alejandro Roces Jr. revived the newspaper business that his father founded, but discarded the TVT chain of newspapers. Roces formed The Manila Times Publishing Company, Inc., and published the Sunday Times on May 27, 1945, which became the Manila Times on September 5, 1945.

Established by Carson Taylor, an Illinois public school teacher who came to the country as part of the Colorado First Volunteer National Guard Regiment, the Manila Daily Bulletin made its debut on February 1, 1900 as a shipping gazette devoted to ship arrivals and departures. Its early editors were H G Farris, 1900; George Rice, late 1900; Chas Bond, 1904; William Crozier, 1905; M L Steward, 1913; C R Zeininger, 1918; and Roy Bennet, late 1918.

In 1912, the Manila Daily Bulletin widened its coverage and circulation and marked its entrance into the newspaper industry. By then, the newspaper shifted to a six-column newspaper consisting of eight pages.

In 1918, the Manila Daily Bulletin switched to a standard eight-column newspaper and published foreign news, first obtained as cable flashes from San Francisco and later as wired stories from the Associated Press and the United Press International. It also rose in circulation and became the largest English language daily newspaper in 1925. Robert Kidd, Ford Wilkins, Frank Bennett, and Ralph Hawkins, were among its early bigwigs.

Abram V Hartendorp, a Thomasite who stayed in Samar and in Zambales, founded The Philippine Magazine, formerly The Philippine Teacher, and later The Philippine Education, in 1904. He contributed largely to the development of Filipino writers in the English language such as Manuel Arguilla, Amador Daguio, Jose Garcia Villa, N V M Gonzalez, Edilberto Tiempo, Bienvenido Santos, and Francisco Avellana.

Judge W H Kincaid founded the Philippine Free Press, the first regularly issued English language weekly magazine, in 1907. It was edited by Pat Gallagher and started as English-Spanish weekly. On August 19, 1908, Robert McCulloch Dick, a Scot who came to the country in 1899, bought the one-year-old magazine and paid one peso, approximately fifty cents, for its goodwill, circulation, and equipment. With the aid of F Theo Rogers as general manager, Dick, who was the editor and publisher until his death on September 14, 1960, turned the magazine into the largest circulated publication in the archipelago and the most influential English language weekly magazine in the history of Philippine journalism. Dick lived most of his life in the Philippines, dying here at the age of 80 years.

Before the war, leading Filipino journalist joined the Philippine Free Press editorial staff – Jose Joven, Jose Reyes, Juan Callas, Ramon Navas, Federico Calero, Roberto Anselmo, and Leon Maria Guerrero. A consistent crusader, the magazine contributed much to the social, cultural, political, educational, and economic growth of the country.

El Renacimiento, a Spanish daily newspaper founded by Rafael Palma on September 1, 1900, became very popular because of its vigorous campaign against graft and corruption in the government. On October 30, 1908, the newspaper came out with an editorial written by Fidel Reyes, its city editor, titled Aves de Rapina, Birds of Prey, which denounced an American official for taking advantage his office in exploiting the resources of the country for his personal gains.

Although the editorial did not mention names, Dean C Worcester, the then Secretary of the Interior and former professor at the University of Michigan, felt alluded to in the editorial and filed a libel case against Teodoro Kalaw and Martin Ocampo, editor and publisher, respectively. The entire Spanish and Filipino press supported the newspaper and many Filipinos offered legal, moral, and financial support.

The lower court sentenced Ocampo to 6 months imprisonment and PhP2 000 fine and Kalaw to 12 months imprisonment and PhP3 000 fine and a verdict for moral and punitive damages for PhP25 000. The defendants appealed to the Supreme Court of the Philippines, which affirmed the decision of the lower court. The embattled journalists appealed again to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, which sustained the decision of the Philippine tribunals. However, Ocampo and Kalaw did not spend a day in jail because Governor General Francis Burton Harrison pardoned them in 1914.

Today, El Renacimiento is remembered as a proof of American antagonism against Filipino nationalism. And, after it had been closed, several newspapers and periodicals were published and fought for freedom and independence.

On August 8, 1920, the Philippine Herald, the first Filipino-owned English language daily newspaper edited by Conrado Benitez, became the mouthpiece of outraged Filipinos led by the then Senate President Manuel Quezon against conservative Americans led by Governor General Leonard Wood. Later, at the helm of its bankruptcy, Senator Vicente Madrigal, Ramon Fernandez, the Earnshaw brothers, and other Filipino millionaires continued its publication and circulation. Among those who worked for the Philippine Herald were Vicente Bunuan, Gregorio Nieva, Antonio Estrada, Modesto Farolan, and Vicente del Fiero.

Founded in 1922 by Ramon Roces, Liwayway became the most widely read weekly magazine in Tagalog and gave rise to publications of the same type in other Philippine dialects. It first appeared as Photo News on June 15, 1922, and had sections in Tagalog, English, and Spanish. However, the idea did not appeal to the reading public and was dropped after 10 issues over a five-month period. When the publication was revived on November 18, 1929, it became a Tagalog weekly magazine that published romance and fantasy stories that included Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang by Severino Reyes, the leading Tagalog fictionist during those days. Among those who served as editors in chief were Jose Esperanza Cruz, 1932-1942; Pedrito Reyes, 1942-1945; Catalino Flores, 1945-1954; Jose Domingo Karasig, 1954-1960; Gervasio Santiago, 1960-1979; Bienvenido Ramos, 1979-1982; and Rodolfo Salandanan, from 1982 to the present.

Ramon Roces also founded the Weekly Graphic, the most widely read weekly magazine in English, on July 15, 1927. It was edited by Vicente Albano Pacis, the Manila Times former editor, and later, by Agustin Fabian. In the 1930s, the Philippine Herald and the Manila Tribune shared the top position in the newspaper industry.

Established by Ramon Roces, Bisaya became the most successful periodical in Cebuano. Its first issue on August 15, 1930 had an initial circulation of 5 000 that rose to 60 000 in the 1960s. Among those who served as editors were Vicente Padriga, 1930-1931; Natalio Bacalso, 1931-1933; Flaviano Boquecosa, 1933-1941; Maximo Bas, 1946-1949; Francisco Candia, 1949-1966; Marcelo Navarra, 1969-1973; Nazario Bas, 1973-1986; and Tiburcio Baguio, its current editor.

In 1933, Senator Vicente Madrigal with the help of Carlos Romulo, who left the Manila Tribune, organized the DMHM chain of newspapers: El Debate, a Spanish morning daily; Mabuhay, a Tagalog morning daily; Philippine Herald, an English afternoon daily; and Monday Mail, an English weekly. In his capacity as the editor in chief of the DMHM chain of newspapers, Romulo won a Pulitzer Prize.

First published regularly in 1934, Ang Bisaya sa Hiligaynon was renamed the Hiligaynon in 1936. With an initial circulation of 5 000 copies, it reached a larger circulation than its sister publication, Bisaya and Bannawag, at its peak. It was published by Ramon Roces and was first edited by Abe Gonzales.

Ramon Roces published Bannawag, the brainchild of Magdaleno Abaya, the Philippine Graphic former staff member, in 1935. It has fostered the growth and maturity of Ilocano literature and has produced creative writers like Leon Pichay, Benjamin Pascual, Godofredo Reyes, and Hermogenes Belen. Considered as the “Bible of the North” that catered the grassroots and intellectual readers, the magazine serves as the major venue for most writings in Ilocano and covers a wide range of writings from fiction, poetry, and comic stories to essays, feature articles, and reportage on local and foreign developments.

After spending at least PhP100 000, Joaquin Elizalde, who rescued the Philippine Herald from Senator Vicente Madrigal, leased the DMHM chain of newspapers to Jorge Araneta, a businessman who wanted a newspaper to bat for a larger market for the Philippine sugar industry in the United States, in 1938. After his death, the chain of newspapers was reverted to the Madrigals.

Before World War II, there were 153 provincial newspapers in the country. Of these, seven were dailies: Cebu City Advertiser, Cebu; Cebu Herald, Cebu; Davao Nichi-Nichi, Davao; El Tiempo, Iloilo; La Nacion, Cebu; La Revolucion, Cebu; and Times, Iloilo.

The oldest newspaper before World War II were Mindanao Herald, which was published in Zamboanga on November 3, 1903, and Ang Manugbantala, which was published in Iloilo on July 7, 1905.

Next: A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Japanese Imperial Occupation

A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Japanese Imperial Occupation

by Alixander Haban Escote

The DMHM chain of newspapers owned by Senator Vicente Madrigal was the first casualty in the field of journalism. It was destroyed when a couple of bombs attacked its editorial offices in Port Area, Manila on December 8, 1941, the Feast of Immaculate Conception.

Within two weeks of Japanese occupation, all publications, except the TVT chain of newspapers of Alejandro Roces Sr. and one of the chain of magazines of Ramon Roces, were closed and their editorial offices were sealed with “By Order of the Japanese Imperial Government.”

On October 12, 1942, Taliba, La Vanguardia, Tribune, and Liwayway were placed under Osaka Mainichi Publishing Company, a group that established the Manila Sinbun-sya Corporation and controlled Shin-Seiki, Bicol Herald, Manila Shimbun, and Davao Nichi-Nichi.

During this period, anyone who wanted to publish newspapers and periodicals must secure a military permit and must submit to military censorship, which, when violated meant severe punishment, if not death.

In a study conducted by Jacqueline Co, Annie Dematera, Rosanna Carreon, Rolando dela Cruz, and Adoracion de Guzman, 27 publications were given permission to operate: The Bicol Herald, a four-page tabloid in English and Bikolano published in Bicol from August 1942 to March 1944; the Panay Times, a twice a week newspaper in English and Ilonggo published in Iloilo from January 1943 to December 1944; the Cebu Times, a four-page daily, except Monday, newspaper in English and Cebuano published in Cebu from March 1944 to March 1945; and the Davao Times, a newspaper in English and Cebuano published in Davao from March 1944 to April 1945.

Other newspapers were Davao, Manila; Filipina, Manila; Leyte-Samar Bulletin, Tacloban; Leyte Shimbun, Tacloban; Liwanag, Manila; New Negros Weekly, Bacolod; Philippine Review Newsette, Davao;Pillars, Cavite; Republic, Manila; Shin-Seiki, Manila; Tagapagturo, Manila; and government bulletins and bibliographies.

On the other hand, guerilla newspapers and periodicals were published to boost people’s morale, to warn against collaboration, and to fight against the Japanese Military Government. Guerilla publications, edited by journalist-guerillas, were usually typewritten or mimeographed on 8.5 X 11-inch bond papers.

In 1942, the HUKBALAHAP (Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon) published Ing Masala, the most powerful guerilla publication in Tarlac and in Pampanga. Pedro de la Llana edited The Flash, the newspaper in Tagalog, English, and Spanish in Iloilo. The latter published news stories about the war and editorial articles denouncing the Japanese Military Government. Ironically, its editor was liquated by uninformed guerillas because he was mistaken as a collaborator.

The Thurderclap, the official publication of the Hunter ROTC (Reserved Officers Training Corps) also came out in 1943. Very often, it changed its place of publication to confuse the Japanese as to its origin. On February 2, 1945, a day before the Americans entered in Manila, it was renamed the Liberty.

Founded and edited by Leon Ty of the Philippine Free Press, The Liberator was one of the most widely read guerilla newspapers in Rizal, Cavite, Manila, and Bulakan. Some of its writers were executed because they were caught circulating it. Luckily, Ty and a few others escaped and were saved from the enemy dragnet.

In Nueva Vizcaya, Col Guillermo Nakar published the Matang Lawin, which reported news stories about the Battle of Bataan.15 It also informed the Filipino people that like the Hawk, the guerillas watch over and look after their welfare and, at the same time, take cognizance of the activity of the spies.

In Panay, Tomas Confessor, Free Panay governor, published Ang Tigbatas, a Hiligaynon-English newspaper that survived the war and later became the principal reading matter of the province. Other newspapers in Panay were the Chronicle, Coordinator, Harbinger, Kalibo War Bulletin, and the Unknown Soldiers.

Juan Frivaldo published The Commentator in Sorsogon while Wenceslao Vinzons popularized The Saber in Bicol and in Laguna. Other guerilla newspapers were The Bugle of Leyte, the Palaso of Manila, and the Kalayaan of Bulakan.

Also based from the study conducted by Co, Carreon, Dematera, Dela Cruz, and De Guzman, 37 guerilla newspapers, which when evaluated carefully, reflected the sentiments of the country. Among these newspapers were Bolos and Bullets, Manila; Bombshells, Manila; Fornightly Publication, Panay; Free Philippines, Manila; Free Sulu News, Sulu; Freedom, Panay; Liberator, Negros Occidental; Patnubay, Manila; Patriot, No Official Address; Press of Freedom, No Official Address; Red, White, and Blue, Manila; Tanauan, Leyte; 34th Anniversary of the Chinese Republic, No Official Address; Thurderbolt, Manila; Tigbatas, Panay; Tingug sang Kalwasan, Cebu or Iloilo; Torch, Cebu; Unknown Soldier, Panay; USAFIP NL Newsletter, No Official Address; Victory News, Negros; Victory News, No Official Address; Victory News, Panay; Vigil of Freedom, Visayas; Voice, No Official Address; Voice of Free Samar, Samar; Voice of Free People, Leyte; Voice of Victory, Tacloban; and Weekly News Bulletin, No Official Address.

Next: A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Post Liberation Period

A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Period of Nationalism and First Quarter Storm

by Alixander Haban Escote

During this period, journalism moved the country toward nationalism and independence. It is the period when the country experienced economic turmoil and had a hard time in paying its increasing foreign debts. The Philippine peso flunked against the US dollar and America meddled in the state of economy of the country. As a result, the people felt hardships in life and the press reported the continuing destruction of bureaucracy that shaped the neocolonial outline of our history.

In 1963, Bertrand Russel Foundation published the Progressive Review whose prominent writers included Luis Teodoro, Jose Maria Sison, and Francisco Nemenzo Jr. The Philippine Collegian, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines,16 published essays that mirrored progressive and revolutionary ideas of its editorial staff.

At the University of the Philippines, Jose Maria Sison, also known as Amado Guerrero, founded the Kabataang Makabayan on November 30, 1964. A militant student organization, it removed the unscrupulous masks of feudalism, capitalism, imperialism, and neocolonialism, which, according to Sison, are “the barriers toward the attainment of freedom and independence.”

In November 1965, the then Senate President Ferdinand Marcos,17 Nacionalista Party presidential candidate, who ran against President Diosdado Macapagal, Liberal Party presidential candidate, was elected Sixth President of the Republic of the Philippines, defeating the latter by 67 000 votes. In January 1966, Marcos vowed to be the “leader of the people” and “to make this nation great again.”

After one year, US President Lyndon Johnson sought support for the American involvement in South Vietnam and called for a summit among his allies in the Asia and the Pacific. As a response, Marcos sent an engineering battalion despite popular clamor for non-involvement.

In December 1968, Jose Maria Sison founded the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and continued the armed struggle against the government and its foreign tentacles. When Marcos was re-elected for another four-year term in November 1969, CPP formed an alliance with the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan, formerly the military arm of the Partido ng Komunista ng Pilipinas and later the New People’s Army led by Bernabe Buscayno, also known as Kumander Dante.

In January 1970, series of rallies were launched by radical and moderate student organizations protesting the inclusion of politicians in the 1971 Constitutional Convention and the constitutional provision that would allow Marcos to run for a third term. When militant students overrun the military lines and ram commandeered fire trucks at the gates of the Malacañang Palace, bloody violence erupted.18 This bloody episode began a wave of protest known as the First Quarter Storm.

On August 21, 1971, two hand grenades were thrown at the Plaza Miranda19 killing 8 and injuring 120 persons including Senators Gerardo Roxas, Jovito Salonga, and Sergio Osmeña Jr. who attended the Liberal Party proclamation rally. As a result, Marcos suspended the privilege of writ of habeas corpus20.

In a study conducted by John Lent, there were 26 newspapers and 16 periodicals published during this period. The principal newspapers were the Taliba, Daily Mirror, Evening News, Manila Times, Manila Chronicle, Philippine Herald, and the Manila Daily Bulletin. The principal magazines were the Liwayway, Tagumpay, Weekly Nation, Weekly Graphic, Republic Weekly, Philippine Free Press, Asia Philippines Leader, and the Philippine Free Press sa Filipino,

Militant newspapers during this period included Ang Pasada, Samahan ng mga Makabayang Tsuper; Pagkakaisa, Philippine Peace and Solidarity Council; Bandilang Pula, Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan; Ang Kalayaan and Ang Aktibista, Kabataang Makabayan; Taliba ng Bayan and The Liberation, National Democratic Front; and the Sulong, Ang Bayan, and Ang Komunista, Communist Party of the Philippines.

In early September 1972, Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.21 refuted “Oplan Sagitarrius,” the plan to place some parts of the country under martial law.

On the very night before martial law was declared, the convoy of Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile was ambushed. Fourteen years later, while facing uncertain fate at the Camp Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City after he broke away from Marcos, Enrile confessed that the “ambush” was staged to help justify the imposition of the emergency rule.

Next: A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Martial Law Days

A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Martial Law Days

by Alixander Haban Escote

On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081 and “placed the entire country under martial law.” With the guise of rebellion and insurrection against the government, Marcos manipulated events and situations to justify the declaration of martial law.

The imposition of martial law was necessary, Marcos said, “to save the republic and form a new society.” The purposes of the emergency rule were two-sided: (1) eradicating the armed force of the rebellion and ending the anarchy that prevailed; and (2) eliminating the social and economic roots of the rebellion, by causing rapid national development.

Marcos assured the people that the imposition of martial rule was “legal and constitutional…humane, fair, and just as shown in the absence of bloodshed and the almost unanimous acceptance [of emergency measure] by the people.” The autocrat reiterated that martial law was “not a military takeover of civil government functions… but is the ultimate weapon availed of to preserve the people’s life as a nation when threatened.” A war to be waged on two fronts: “On one hand, we have to completely stamp out the communist menace. On the other hand, we have to cut the powers of the oligarchs who have tyrannized the people.”

The following day, Marcos issued Letter of Instruction No. 1 ordering the Press Secretary and the Defense Secretary “to take over and control or cause the taking over and control of the mass media for the duration of the national emergency, or until otherwise ordered by the President or by his duly designated representative.”

In the first few days of military rule, the Public Information Office issued tight censorship guidelines. Department Order No. 1 signed by Francisco Tatad, ordered, “unless otherwise specified, no newspaper, radio, or television program may carry any editorial opinion, commentary, or asides, or any other kind of political, unauthorized, or objectionable advertising. The so-called society page shall not appear in any newspaper and its equivalent shall not be broadcast either by radio or television.”

As a result, all newspapers and periodicals were closed down and the Sun, Daily Star, Evening News, Manila Times, Manila Chronicle, and the Philippines Herald were sequestered. The likes of publishers Antonio Araneta, Graphic; Joaquin Roces, Manila Times; Eugenio Lopez Jr., Manila Chronicle; and Teodoro Locsin Sr., Philippine Free Press; were jailed.

Marcos also jailed the following editors and reporters: Rolando Fadul, Taliba; Luis Mauricio, Graphic; Juan Mercado, Dumaguete Times; Rosalinda Galang, Manila Times; Jose Lacaba, Philippine Free Press; Amando Doronilla, Manila Chronicle; and Napoleon Rama, Philippine Free Press.

Dolores Feria, Jose Burgos Jr., Satur Ocampo, Rommel Corro, Armando Malay, Napoleon Rama, Maximo Soliven, Petronillo Daroy, Ernesto Granada, Jo-Ann Maglipon, Ninotchka Rosca, Rodolfo Ordonez, and Antonio Ma Nieva were also jailed.

Philippine Collegian student journalists like Roberto Coloma, Alexander Magno, and Malou Mangahas were also put in jail. Mauro Avena, Jose Burgos Jr., Sheila Coronel, Rommel Corro, Domini Suarez, Armando Malay, Ma Ceres Doyo, Francisco Rodrigo, and Salvador Gonzales faced libel and subversion cases.

Arlene Babst, Mauro Avena, Antonio Ma Nieva, Ninez Cacho Olivarez, and Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc were dismissed as professional journalists. Jacinto Peña, Alex Orcullo, Kenneth Lee, Geoffrey Siao, Henry Romero, Porfirio Doctor, Demy Dingcong, Walter Sisbrenio, Noe Alejandrino, Jacobo Amatong, Florante de Castro, and Antonio Tagamolila offered their lives for journalism.

Women journalists though subjected to military threats, harassments, and intimidations proved to be equally if not more daring than men in their writings. Among them were Ceres Doyo, Arlene Babst, Sheila Coronel, Ninez Olivares, Betty Belmonte, Melinda de Jesus, Eugenia Apostol, Malou Mangahas, Domini Torrevillas, Tina Monzon-Palma, and Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc.

Within weeks, the Philippine Daily Express, published by Juan Perez and owned by Roberto Benedicto, Marcos’s friend and law schoolmate, was allowed to operate and became the unofficial mouthpiece of the administration during the historical martial law proclamation. It was an unabashed propaganda newspaper and eventually came to be known, in the kind of defiant humor popular during the martial law, as the Daily Suppress.

In its December 7, 1972 editorial, the paper praised the imposition of martial law in rather flagrant time:

“President Marcos took the decisive step to realize that Filipino dream when he placed the entire country under martial law to save the republic from foreign-backed communist conspiracy trying to seize state and political power, and to reform a sick society by eradicating the social roots of the rebellion and anarchy. (Italics Mine)

“Proclamation 1081 is not a martial law proclamation but a declaration of emancipation…liberating the Filipino mind, body, and soul from centuries of imprisonment (by social, political, and economic ills and conditions imposed by [the] Spanish, [the] American, and [the] Japanese force[s]) as well as from local tyrants and warlords… and those who took orders from Moscow and lately from the operatives of Chairman Mao” (Italics Mine).

The tightly controlled mass media had few openings for alternative versions of reality to seep through the thick mist of official propaganda. Kerima Polotan-Tuvera published the Focus, a safe but interesting magazine. The daughter of sometime presidential representative Adrian Cristobal published the Review, a short-lived literary magazine.

Only few newspapers and periodicals were given permission to operate: the Evening Post of Kerima Polotan-Tuvera, the Bulletin Today of Gen Hans Menzi, and the Times Journal of Benjamin Romualdez. These newspapers were also known as “crony press” or “establishment press.”

The boldest publication during the martial law period was the Who Magazine of the Bulletin-owned Liwayway Publications, Inc. It was intended to be a personality periodical, but Menzi gave its editorial staff some liberty to write feature stories. It tackled stories about victims of human rights abuses, public sentiments regarding the real state of things, and indigenous communities resisting development programs. Some of its editorial columns were critical of the administration.

Who Magazine editorial staff and contributors were often summoned to explain the merits of their stories. Marcos himself expressed annoyance over the existence of the publication. But, Menzi was fond of the young journalists and that he defended them and the publication. The magazine was finally shut down after he died.

Nationalistic campus newspapers were the Pandayan of the Ateneo de Manila University, Balawis of the Mapua Institute of Technology, the Philippine Collegian of the University of the Philippines, Ang Hasik of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, and Ang Malaya of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Next: A History of Journalism in the Philippines – 1986 EDSA Revolution

A History of Journalism in the Philippines – 1986 EDSA Revolution

by Alixander Haban Escote

Three years before the 1986 EDSA Revolution, Mr & Ms, an inexpensive weekly magazine, sensationalized the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., paramount political rival of Marcos, at the Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983. Aquino’s assassination ignited a fire of protests particularly in Ugarte Field in Makati and in Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila where the upper and the middle classes marched with the poor, the workers, the unemployed, and the professionals.

The continued publication and circulation of Mr & Ms encouraged Eugenia Apostol and Leticia Jimenez-Magsanoc to publish the Philippine Daily Inquirer, an opposition newspaper edited by Luis Beltran, on December 2, 1985. With the slogan “Balanced News, Fearless Views,” 40 editors, reporters, photographers, correspondents, and other editorial employees put out the newspaper on December 9, 1985. It was one of the two alternative newspapers that chronicled the flight of the Marcoses on February 25, 1986.

Earlier, We Forum, with Jose Burgos Jr. as the editor and publisher and Bonifacio Gillego as the writer, ran series of exposé on the alleged Marcos fake medals. Because of this, Marcos ordered the closure of the newspaper and the arrest of its editor and publisher. However, on December 4, 1981, the newspaper metamorphosed into Malaya, which ceased on December 7, 1982 and reopened on January 17, 1983.

The rampage of the new elite and the abuse of human rights did not only bleed the economy dry but also fueled rallies and demonstrations. The EDSA Revolution that prevailed on February 22-25, 1986 was a peaceful cry for freedom and independence, which, according to Senator Francisco Tatad, was “a beautiful revolution whose combatants include men, women, and children who had fun rather than fear and who thought that what they went through was a religious rather than a political experience.”

On February 25, 1986, Corazon Aquino24 was inaugurated as President of the Republic of the Philippines at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan before Supreme Court Senior Justice Claudio Teehankee. An hour later, Marcos conducted his own inauguration at the Malacañang Palace. Channels 2, 9, and 13 covered the ceremony, but they were cut off suddenly because their transmitters were taken by reformist troops. Without television, Marcos finally loses control. Marcos called Juan Ponce Enrile to offer him power in a provisional government, but the latter turned him down. Marcos called US Senator Paul Laxalt to ask for advice and he was told: “Mr. President, I think you should cut, and cut cleanly.” Marcos made a final call to Enrile asking for a safe conduct for his family. The Marcoses then packed hurriedly. At 9 p. m., four American helicopters fly the Marcoses from the Malacañang Palace in Manila to the Clark Air Base in Pampanga. The next day, they stop over at Guam, then fly to Hawaii.

Prominent newspapers during this period were the Business Day, the most respected business newspaper; the Malaya, the newspaper that strongly opposed martial law; the Bulletin Today, the newspaper that exists through bad and good times; theManila Times, the newspaper that came back before the snap elections; and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the most read newspaper even after a few months of circulation.

Included were their Sunday magazines: Panorama, Inquirer Extra, Midday Malaya, Sunday Times Magazine, and Sunday Inquirer Magazine. The weekly newsmagazines were Veritas, We Forum, Veritas Special, and Mr & Ms Special Edition. Also included were News Herald, Manila Chronicle, Ang Pilipino Ngayon, Pilipino Daily Mirror, and the Philippine Tribune.

Next: A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Contemporary Period

A History of Journalism in the Philippines – Historical Notes

by Alixander Haban Escote

Twenty-four important notes necessary in understanding a history of journalism in the Philippines.

  1. Marcelo Del Pilar is also the author of La Soberania Monacal, 1888; and Frailocracia Fililipa, 1889. Hilario was not actually his middle name, but Gatmaytan.
  2. The Iglesia Filipina Independiente was founded by Isabelo delos Reyes and Pascual Poblete, 1902; and was headed by Gregorio Aglipay as its first Pontifex Maximus or Obispo Maximo or Supreme Bishop.
  3. Vigan, before Ciudad Fernandina and later Heritage City of Vigan, is the capital of Ilocos Sur and the seat of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia. It is the third city in the Philippines founded by Juan de Salcedo, grandson of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.
  4. Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal y Alonzo Realonda wrote Noli Me Tangere, 1887; and El Filibusterismo, 1891. He was executed in Bagumbayan, now Rizal Park, on December 30, 1896.
  5. Ferdinand Blumentritt, the “true brother” and “loyal friend” of Jose Rizal, made several studies about the country. He was born in Praque, Bohemia, now Czechoslovakia.
  6. Andres Bonifacio is the father of Philippine Revolution and Philippine Democracy and the founder of the Kataastaasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan in Tondo, Manila on July 7, 1892.
  7. Emilio Aguinaldo was the President of the First Philippine Republic. He was also elected as President of the Revolutionary Government and President of the Biak-na-Bato Republic. He proclaimed Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898.
  8. Rafael Palma was elected Senator of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, 1916; appointed Secretary of the Interior, 1919; and appointed member of the Independence Missions, 1919 and 1922. He was also the fourth president of the University of the Philippines, 1925-1933; a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, 1934-1935; and the Chairman of the National Council of Education; 1936-1939.
  9. Gen Douglas McArthur was the youngest Chief of Staff of the US Army. He served as the Military Adviser of the Philippine Commonwealth, 1936-1941; Commanding General of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), 1941; Supreme Allied Commander of the Southwest Pacific, 1942-1945; and Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers for Occupied Japan, 1945-1951.
  10. Sergio Osmeña Sr. was the first Filipino national leader under the American regime as Speaker of the Philippine Assembly and the Second President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, 1944-1946. He was the Vice President of Manuel Quezon when World War II broke out, and assumed the presidency upon the death of the latter in 1944. His secret agreement with US President Harry Truman on May 14, 1945 became the basis of the 1947 RP-US Military Bases Agreement.
  11. US Olympia is the flagship of Admiral George Dewey, the Commanding Officer of the US Asiatic Squadron during the Spanish-American War. For his victory, Dewey rapidly rose from the rank of Commodore to Rear Admiral and Admiral in the US Navy.
  12. Manuel Luis Quezon y Molina was the President of the Philippine Senate, 1916-1936, and the First President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, 1935-1944.
  13. Francis Burton Harrison was the American Governor General of the Philippines, 1913-1919, remembered for his Filipinization policy, i. e., replacement of Americans in the Philippine Civil Service with qualified Filipinos. His dying wish that he be buried in the Philippines was granted and that he was buried in Manila North Cemetery.
  14. Carlos Romulo y Peña was the first Filipino president of the United Nations General Assembly, 1949; and a member of the United Nations Security Council, 1958.
  15. The Battle of Bataan started on January 9, 1942 and continued until April 9, 1942.
  16. The University of the Philippines was established in 1908 by virtue of Act No. 1870 written by W Shuster Morgan, Secretary of Public Instruction and member of the Philippine Commission. Formerly located in Padre Faura in Manila, it transferred to Diliman in Quezon City in 1949 although the College of Medicine and Allied Medical Professions remained in Manila.
  17. President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. First elected in 1965, he was easily re-elected in 1969. Facing increasing civil unrest from the Communist Party of the Philippines headed by Jose Maria Sison and the Moro National Liberation Front headed by Hashim Salamat, Marcos suspended the constitution, declared martial law, and seized dictatorial powers in 1972. Accused of massive fraud in the 1986 Snap Elections against Corazon Aquino, Marcos and his family fled to Hawaii. He spent the last three years of his life fighting the lawsuits that tried to reclaim the large fortune he had accumulated improperly while in power.
  18. Malacañang Palace is the official residence of the Spanish and the American governors-general from 1863 to 1935 and of Philippine presidents from 1935 to the present. The name is said to have come from the words “May lakan diyan,” literarily, “there are noblemen residing there.” A violent rally in front of the palace on January 30, 1970 was described as the “Siege of Malacañang.”
  19. Plaza Miranda is the public square in front of the Quaipo Church in Manila. It was named after Jose Sandino y Miranda, Secretary of the Treasury of the Philippines from 1853 to 1854.
  20. The writ of habeas corpus is a written order, issued by a court, directed to the person detaining another, and commanding him to produce the body of a prisoner with the date and the cause of his capture and detention.
  21. Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was the youngest foreign correspondent during the Korean War, the youngest adviser of President Ramon Magsaysay, and the youngest member of the Philippine Senate. His assassination at the Manila International Airport, now Ninoy Aquino International Airport, on August 21, 1983 galvanized popular opposition to the Marcos administration and brought his widow, Corazon Cojuangco, to the forefront, during the 1986 Snap Election.
  22. Martial law is the temporary imposition of a military government over a civil government. It is invoked when civil authority is inadequate to enforce law and to preserve order against rebellion and insurrection. It was also proclaimed in Taiwan, 1949; Thailand, 1958; and South Korea, 1972.
  23. EDSA is an acronym for Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, named after a Filipino historian and provincial governor of Nueva Ecija. Formerly known as Highway 54, which starts from Kalookan City to Pasay City, a stretch of it in Quezon City was the setting of the 1986 Philippine Revolution, hence 1986 EDSA Revolution.
  24. Corazon Aquino is the First Woman and Eighth President of the Republic of the Philippines, 1986-1992. With Salvador Laurel as his running mate, she led the opposition that overthrew President Ferdinand Marcos who went into exile in Hawaii after the 1986 EDSA Revolution. She first established a revolutionary government under a Freedom Constitution, which was replaced by the 1987 Constitution, drafted in 1986 and ratified in 1987.