Publishing PINOY for 15 years—it's all worth it!
By Mariano “Anong” Santos
LEFT PHOTO: PINOY is an eyewitness as corruption caught up with both PH President Gloria M. Arroyo and her appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
right photo: PINOY Editor Anong Santos endorsed Republican Judy Baar Topinka who challenged Rod Blagojevich on the issue of corruption in the race for governor.
PINOY is 15 years old. In your hands is the first issue that ushers in our 16th year—sweet 16, indeed! It is a great time to express our thanks to all our readers who turn to the pages of our newsmagazine for reliable information and insightful commentaries to help them be aware of the happenings that matter in the community, in this nation, in our homeland—the Philippines, and in the world as a whole.
PINOY is most grateful to our advertisers who carefully invested their hard-earned dollars in a media that truly gives them the exposure to help them flourish in their businesses. This mutual caring leads us to continually serve our readers' needs with respect and integrity. During this challenging age of fast-changing technology, responsible delivery of information is constantly put to a severe test. Instagram and Twitter may deliver the news fast but is it reliable and relevant?
PINOY stays the course because it has to give its share in keeping the Filipino Americans in this area properly informed. We harbor no illusion that community newspapering is lucrative financially. We must have the firm belief that we are serving the people by making the best that the gift of press freedom can bring to be available to readers.
No "Economy of scale"
PINOY acknowledges the difficult task of being involved in publishing in a very competitive business environment—most specially in the business of ethnic publication. As MBAs will put it, this particular activity has no "economy of scale." Put it another way, the lifetime gross earnings of PINOY might not even reach the cost of a 30-second TV ad in the Super Bowl. ($4.5 million/30 seconds in the Feb. 1, 2015 Super Bowl.)
PINOY takes pride in the rare privilege of being the main source of the Philippine Daily Inquirer news and commentaries in this area. PDI is the number one newspaper back home and its circulation is higher than the combined circulation of its next two competitors. Suffice to say, it has the best coverage and writers whose works appear in the pages of PINOY in the last 15 years.
PINOY staffers persevere despite that daunting scenario. We will endure for as long as we serve the purpose of making members of community intelligently informed, thus arming them while we collectively build a Filipino American community that excels in this adopted country of ours and responsive in helping a world that is just, peaceful and progressive. That's our modest pledge to all of you!
"Movers & Shakers"
Our premier edition of February 2000, PINOY had 12 persons in its cover that hailed them as Movers & Shakers. After all those years, three are genuinely still moving and shaking events. Orly Bernardino and his Philippine Weekly are still well and alive—quite a feat, as I mentioned earlier in the highly competitive ethnic publishing arena.
Department of Tourism Director Vernie V. Morales certainly made her mark with an illustrious list of achievements in increasing the number of tourists visiting the Philippines. When cited, Mrs. Morales was a yearling in her position—ironically—she will leave her post in April after all the progress she made here, the DOT Midwest office will shut down for keeps.
Teresita Nuval of the Chicago Archdiocese office of ethnic ministry was another face in that cover and she remains in her post that made strides in bringing a uniquely Filipino religious tradition to the Catholic community here. "Simbang Gabi" is now a widely observed event during the advent season and credit goes to her tireless efforts.
The then president of the Filipino American Council of Chicago, Rey Sapnu, was also of the dozens featured but this is where things changed in a negative direction. From about six dozens affiliated with the FACC 15 years ago, there are only SIX now. Its headquarters, the Jose Rizal Heritage Center, is in dire need of financial support, just to keep up with its maintenance. It is one place that really cries for some moving and shaking.
Joven Fajardo and Cornelio Natividad—were two men that got involved in another federation— Philippine American Cultural Foundation—were among the 12 featured. Ailing Ben Fajardo retired from the mayorship of Glendale Heights with his shining legacy intact. He was also the founding president PACF that flourished while he was alive.
Natividad succeeded Fajardo upon his death and Natividad now left a sad legacy of miscalculations. The building acquired during his watch was foreclosed—just like the building he thought it would be the Philippine Engineers and Scientists Organization (PESO) meeting place. The funds the PACF is keeping in behalf of the donors for the Jose Rizal Statue at the Chicago Park District, are not being used to refurbish the oxidized and stained monument. The Chamber of commerce he headed is barely surviving.
PINOY discovered that one can shake and move--but in the wrong way. Thankfully, we just decided to discontinue featuring "Movers and Shakers" and just be contented with running stories on "Pinoy Achievers" which you find occasionally in the pages of PINOY.
PINOY is an eyewitness to the important events of the last decade and a half. PINOY extensively followed the happenings in our homeland. Three Philippine Presidents dominated the news starting with Joseph Ejercito Estrada who graced our cover when he visited Chicago in 2000. Sadly, early the following year, he was again in our cover for an unsavory reason. He was eased out of office—accused of plunder—a charge that would later lead to his conviction.
Erap repeatedly made our cover stories including an exclusive interview with this columnist while he was under house arrest in his hacienda in Tanay. Despite his imprisonment, Erap landed second place when he ran in the 2010 presidential elections. He ran for Manila mayor and successfully unseated the incumbent Lim. History is repeatedly rewritten. Read on.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who succeeded Erap, presided over a scandal-ridden administration for 10 years. She also visited Chicago in 2002. Her pardon of Erap led to his political resurrection. Charged with corruption after she left the presidency, she is now under arrest—confined in a government hospital due to her health problems. Her nemesis and successor, Benigno C. Aquino, presently dominates the news primarily on a promise to eradicate corruption in government.
Under Aquino, history is rewritten again. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Renato Corona, was impeached and convicted of abuse of public trust. Then again, three top senators including a political old guard, former senate president Juan Ponce Enrile and his younger cohorts, Senators Jinggoy Estrada (son of Erap) and Bong Revilla, both film actors, are jailed for corruption.
PINOY is on the forefront of the comprehensive reportage on corruption which is a main cause of poverty in the Philippines. Presently, the bulk of the news is eaten up with the continuing expose on the alleged plunder on the part of Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family. They are the subject of prolonged Senate investigations that dig into the wide network of bribery and extortion charges that are dumped on the Binays.
(As a footnote, two Illinois Governors were jailed in the last 15 years due to corruption. Republican George Ryan is now out while Democrat Rod Blagojevich continues to serve his 14-year sentence. Filipino politicians don't have a monopoly of this problem!)
PINOY followed closely the reign of Manny Pacquiao in the field of boxing, the debate on the Reproductive Health that finally resulted into a law and the on-going territorial dispute with China. It is in these areas of reporting where the Philippine Daily Inquirer excels and its outstanding reports reach Greater Chicago area Filipino Americans by way of PINOY. The biggest beneficiaries are our readers.
180 Issues of PINOY
In the covers of the 180 issues of PINOY, Gawad Kalinga-related subjects easily won the title of the most covered. Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis I and John XXIII collectively topped our religion-related subjects. In matters of Philippine heritage, articles on Dr. Jose Rizal dominated the personalities while the Filipino American War carries an edge on historical subjects.
Immigration, Obamacare and Medicare, terrorism, Veterans of WWII and Filipino American political involvement are issues that were reported extensively with President Obama as a standout figure for most of these inter-related subjects. The Philippine Independence Week, concerts and cultural activities and volunteerism are frequently tackled in our Community News pages.
PINOY does not pay much in terms of individual gratuities and pay checks but it is never short in providing excitement and satisfaction at the end of the day when we are faced with the question—is it all worth it? Of course, it is…and more.
Again, thank you readers and advertisers for being with us in this journey to this milestone. PINOY lives on! •