Americas Columns

AMERICA IN MY HEART: Our milestones and the Philippine News Today

 
SAN FRANCISCO – While working in San Francisco, my computer suddenly led me to rediscover that our newspaper, the Philippine News Today, turned three years old the last week August. 
This as a memory popped out on my Facebook page displaying our maiden issue as a merger of the iconic Philippine News (since 1961) and the popular Philippines Today — thus the name and combined logos of the two newspapers in Philippine News Today
 
The banner headline of that issue was “REVOLUTIONARY GOV’T IN PHL PUSHED, SHOT DOWN.” Another highlight of that issue was President Rodrigo Duterte admitting he had cancer, and a front page teaser “Another doctor succumbs to Covid, cases soar to over 200,000, deaths over 3,000” as Senator Ramon Bong Revilla contracts Covid and world boxing icon Manny Pacquiao mulling a fight against his British former sparring mate Amir khan.
How time flies. As the paper hit its anniversary, this also marked my third year as editor in chief of Philippine News Today. Previous to that I was executive editor of Philippine News and editor in chief of the successful Pinoy Today and later the popular Philippines Today. 
 
This also brought to fore another milestone in my career as a journalist in the Philippines and America — 35 continuous years as editor, columnist and writer in Filipino newspapers and magazines in the United States and Canada while, at the same time, serving as one of the top editors of a major daily in the Philippines, the Manila Bulletin. It is also 35 long years advocating for a Filipino community well informed about the goings-on in their native land and their adopted country and a well deserved recognition of the Filipino journalist in America through the organization of National Press Club of the Philippines chapters in San Francisco/Northern California, Los Angeles/Southern California, Chicago and the Midwest, among others, and the historic signing of a Reciprocity Agreement between NPC Philippines and the National Press Club of the United States in Washington DC, one of the most powerful and most influential press clubs in the world, in February 1999 while I was president of the NPC in Manila witnessed by Ambassador Raul Rabe and Filipino journalists in Manila and the US.
For Philippine News Today columnist, my first cousin Art G. Madlaing, who introduced me to Philippine newspapering in California as editor in chief of the broadsheet Philippine Examiner which he published initially with Roger Oriel (now publisher of Asian Journal) following their departure from the California Examiner of Oscar Jornacion, the anniversary was something to crow about as his column, Wealth & Health (initially Real Estate and You) drew a legion of followers, prompting him to publish several books, some of which were a compendium of his columns in Philippines Today and Philippine News Today. Two of those books he was proud and happy to hand over to Philippine Consul General Neil Ferrer when we called on the ConGen at the Philippine Consulate together with Managing Editor and Columnist Claire Morales True and Art’s wife, Virginia, a former teacher. August is also Art’s birthday which we celebrated in Las Vegas with a resolve to produce more books and columns.
The meeting with Congen Neil Ferrer made me remember my first meeting with a Philippine ConGen in San Francisco, the late actor and diplomat Amado Cortez, when, as NPC Philippines president, I launched the NPC chapter in San Francisco and Northern California with veteran journalist George Nervez, then publisher-editor of Filipino Guardian, as president. Nervez, who was my colleague in the defunct Daily Express, recalled that ConGen Cortez was all-out in supporting the NPC chapter through his speech as he stayed on throughout the event. ConGen Cortez, for those who still don’t know, was Arsenio Ruiz Padilla in real life, one of the sons of former Bulacan Governor Carlos Padilla Sr., who sired a dozen children including Carlos Padilla and Jose Padilla Jr., both actors and Olympians; and labor leader, actor and Camarines Norte Governor and Assemblyman Casimiro Roy Padilla, father of Senator Robinhood Padilla.  Actor and international boxing referee Carlos “Sonny” Padilla Jr. (father of actress-singer Zsa Zsa Padilla and best known for refereeing the “Thrilla in Manila” at the Araneta Coliseum between heavyweights Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975) is a nephew.  
Our Filipino American editorial cartoonist Angelo Lopez also relishes the many issues of Philippines Today and Philippine News Today so he selected major editorial cartoons from 2016 to 2023 and organized them into a book which he aptly titled “The Duterte Years.” I got a copy of the book which was mailed by Amazon to me in San Francisco; a signed copy of the book was earlier mailed to the Philippine News Today office earlier. Like the books of Art, Angelo’s book is published and distributed by the highly regarded Amazon and is available globally. As a book author myself (Barangay: Peoplepower, 1976 which is listed in the United States Library of Congress, and others), I wrote a message which served as foreword of Angelo’s 214-page book. So the book will be better appreciated, here’s my Foreword to the book:
“In the printed world, editorial cartoons have been important part and parcel of newspapers, magazines, newsletters and similar publications.
Even now that we are in the digital world, editorial cartoons remain an essential source of information that make one raise an eyebrow, trigger questions, frown or smear, rise in righteous indignation or simply smile and laugh. The reason simply for this is the editorial cartoonist presents in unique and sometimes exquisite art form timely, appropriate and relevant views and perspective.
There is no hard and fast rule formula for a successful and effective editorial cartoon. But artists like Angelo Lopez survive the daily or weekly grind mainly due to the quality of their drawings or sketches and the images and symbolism that they present.
We have worked with Angelo Lopez for many years now in various publications and all throughout he has made his mark as a reliable and indispensible cartoonist whose work sometimes is more eloquent than the editorial text itself.
They say a picture is worth a thousands words. The editorial cartoon perhaps evokes more than that as a mere sight of it makes one ponder on its unspoken message even more.
This book presents the best works of Angelo Lopez in the Philippine News Today, the premier Filipino community in the United States, the Philippine News and the Philippines Today before their merger, and other publications. The cartoons are not just works of art but a chronicle of perspectives in many years woven into history. Thus, the book should be a must-read for the dynamic Filipino American community in the United States and Filipinos elsewhere.”
Angelo Lopez is an award winning Filipino American editorial cartoonist from San Jose, California, who cast a wary eye on the Philippines since 2016, according to Amazon.

Angelo Lopez has used his cartoons to report on President Duterte’s war on democracy. In the pages of the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in San Francisco Bay Area, Angelo’s cartoons shine a light on economic exploitation, vigilante killings, and the steady walk to authoritarianism. Through his cartoons, Angelo Lopez is trying to cry out to Filipinos and Filipino Americans to take notice before it is too late.
Ruth Silver Taube, Coordinator, Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition and Supervising Attorney, Workers’ Rights Practice, Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center, Santa Clara University School of Law, in a message in “The Duterte Years,” stated:

“Angelo Lopez’ eagerly anticipated book of political cartoons is vivid, evocative, and beautifully drawn. He provides a rare glimpse of Filipino American history and the struggles of working class Filipinos and Filipino Americans grappling with issues such as wage theft, labor exploitation, hate, scapegoating, and inequality in contemporary American and Filipino society. His cartoons also provide an unflinching look at the abuse of power and of resistance in the Philippines. It is a must read book that I highly recommend.”
For lack of space, we will write other milestones and achievements of our publication in the coming weeks.
To our dear readers, we thank you sincerely for following us through our reportage and commentaries. With your support, we look forward to serving the Filipino and Filipino American community in the years ahead.

(Editor’s Note: The writer is a book author, professor and journalist in the Philippines and United States. He served as president of the National Press Club during which he linked up with the National Press Club in Washington D.C. and launched NPC chapters in US. He was executive director for several years of the Publishers Association of the Philippines Inc. (PAPI). He was a distinguished member of the Board of Regents of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) for two six-year terms, Commissioner of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost), among others. He is the editor in chief of Philippine News Today. He can be reached at alfredgabot@aol.com or alfred.gabot@gmail.com)