Sports journalism award

The submission of entries for the 1st Vic Sai Sports Journalism Awards closed last Wednesday. The submitted entries for best sports news, best sports feature, best sports column and best sports photograph were evaluated today by the board of judges, shown here:


Jonathan Santes (left) former newspaper editor/publisher and now Information Officer of the Sunday Runners Club; Jimmy Torres, veteran broadcaster and cable television host; and freelance writer and photojournalist Aurelio Pena.

The winners will receive their awards on April 4 in a dinner hosted by Pagcor-Davao. The sports journalism awards is a project of the Davao City Sports Council, Inc. in partnership with San Miguel Corporation and Nestle Philippines.


I was on TV yesterday for the Araw ng Dabaw special edition of the Kapamilya Winner Ka! game show at ABS-CBN featuring the Movers and Shakers of Davao City.

Sorry folks, no acutal video footage. But here’s a photo from Joji Alcantara posted on Facebook.

Incidentally, our team lost. But it was a lot of fun!

Cabinet men seeking Congress posts

Our New Year’s Day post is in the news today.

I would be back to my usual round of meetings starting today. At 2  pm at the Davao City Sports Council, Inc. to take up among others the 1st Vic Sai Sports Journalism Awards, and at 6 pm at the Dabaw Kaisa Foundation which is spearheading the Chinese New Year celebration in the city.

During the holiday break, I learned that a number of cabinet secretaries are planning to run for congressional seats in 2010. Is this a definite sign the Palace occupant is finally giving up hope for any extension?


Among those reportedly seeking Congress posts are Press Secretary Jess Dureza and Cabinet Secretary Bebot Bello III in the 1st District and 3rd District of Davao City, respectively; Aggie Secretary Arthur Yap in Bohol, and PMS Head Cerge Remonde in the South Cebu District.

Most important things during Yuletide

Find out here how Davaoenos spend the Yuletide holidays without firecrackers. They learned to embrace the most important things during Christmas.

Thanks for more Christmas cheers from Mayor Rody Duterte, Vice Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, Councilors Leo Avila, Tess Mata-Maranon, City Librarian Fe Alajar, Julio T. Cruz Group of Companies, Holcim, Chamber president Sim Marfori, Chary and Wit Holganza, and to Class 74 of the Davao City High School who sang Christmas carols to my family last night.

A convert

This former strongman who shunned free press in the past is not only a press freedom convert.

He has turned to blogging to write his thoughts and present his opinions. And he is willing to go to jail for it!

EO Fuentes, 84

Eleuterio O. Fuentes, more popularly known as EO, passed away yesterday. He was 84.

EO taught English and Literature when I was in college at the University of Mindanao more than 30 years ago. I was not lucky to sit at his classes because I was at the Engineering Department. But I frequently met him at the Bolton campus because he headed the Publication Office of the university. We did not have a student newspaper at that time due to martial law. But budding campus writers mingled around his office and learned many things from him including photography. In our company were the likes of Jojo Santes, Nikki Gomez, Jimmy Cabrera, Dibay Garcia, Cecille Muñoz and Henrylito Tacio.

EO was softspoken yet his students enjoyed his Ilongo charm, wit and humor.

Christine Rizardo Omar of the Ateneo de Davao Univeristy School of Governance was once his student assistant.

I crossed path again with EO when I started to write for local newspapers where he also contributed articles. We also met at printing presses where we both published newsletters and edited local newspapers. He was industrious and prolific.

Our third encounter was many years later when my wife, Evelyn, became active in the floriculture industry. EO was likewise a horticulture enthusiast and in spite his advancing age, he was doing PR work for the group around FIDI, the floriculture industry association.

The main material I used as backgrounder for the City Council Resolution in 2001 proposing to name Waling-waling as the new national flower was written by EO.

My wife served as FIDI’s 3rd president in 2002. EO and Evelyn worked together on many projects and publications of FIDI. EO was already suffering from bouts of broncho pneumonia during this time. My wife often told me that EO has limited his activities to writing and making sure the printing presses finished their publications on time.

I am not sure if he has pending work at the presses. Its truly sad to think though that he has already written 30. He was a hardworker until his last breath.

Inquirer not precise, specific, accurate

Headline: Davao bus blast kills 6

Is it not better to be precise and specific? Digos bus blast kills 6

Davao and Digos have the same five letters and would surely fit in the front of the Inquirer. But why did the Inquirer editors use Davao instead of the more accurate Digos as the site of the bus blast?

Your guess is as good as mine. Using Digos would not be as dramatic, would not be as sensational, and, of course, would not sell as much.

Oh well.

For those not familiar, Digos City is 54 kilometers or one-and-a-half-hour bus ride south of Davao City. It is the capital of the provice of Davao del Sur.

Yet, these vital facts were not mentioned in the story. It would have helped readers better understand. For instance, it was mentioned that “Many of those in critical condition were rushed to the government-run Davao Medical Center in Davao City.

This would have been the opportunity to picture to the readers that Davao City was so much kilometers away from the blast site. Both the reporters and editors missed this chance.

Oh well.

5:45 a.m.

Club 888

Club 888, Davao’s premier media forum on business and tourism at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao, celebrated its 9th anniversary yesterday, August 8, 2008, the auspicious three 8s of the calendar.

After the regular interaction with guests from the National Statistical Coordination Board, which incidentally announced that poverty rose in the Davao Region during the period 2003 to 2006, there was sumptuous lunch, raffles and karaoke singing.

On the same occassion, Marco Polo gave P60,000 for the new education campaign of the Philippine Eagle Foundation for the conservation of the majestic Philippine Eagle.

Big thanks to Bing Gonzales for the photos.

6:12 a.m.

Rice solution is no rocket science

The rice issue once again came to the fore in the weekly City Council Media Hour yesterday. Present as guests were Councilors Edgar Ibuyan (Committee on Labor & Employment), Tomas Monteverde IV (Committee on Social Services & Development) and myself.

For the second time during the past week, I tried to re-focus the discussions on the rice crisis from the “band-aid” solutions being undertaken today to the more important long-term solutions to food self-sufficiency.

Last Saturday, I was the guest at dxAB of ABS-CBN and I hammered on the need to put food security at the top of the national agenda, including those of the media. Unfortunately, the same petty questions were being raised by our colleagues in the media. Why are the queue lines at NFA outlets remain? What happened to the NBI investigations against rice hoarders? Can special outlets be designated for this or that sector? etc.

Well, spending all our time to discuss these issues will not help solve the rice crisis in the long term.

What we should be discussing now, or more appropriately, be doing right now, is the one and only solution to the rice crisis – to plant more rice.

I told the listeners at dxAB and repeated it yesterday that the solution to the rice crisis is not rocket science. I cited at least five key points, which are all common sense – expand rice and corn lands and protect them from conversion; build infrastructures such as irrigation and post harvest facilities; train our farmers on new technologies, including organic farming; provide them with easy credit; and impose tariff on imported competition.

If the whole nation concentrate on these things, with the help of the media in defining the national agenda, I am sure we can reach the Masagana 99 period when the country became a surplus producer of rice instead of being today’s No. 1 rice importer in the world.

Trouble is the national government has other priorities – like, for instance, going on a junket to the US! Yup (i.e. yes and no pun to Arthur Yap), the country’s rice czar has tagged along with the Malacanang gang in this trip instead of addressing the rice crisis.

5:50 a.m.

What to do with P142 Million?

Thanks to Nikki of the Mindanao Daily Mirror (Vote online and answer a P142 Million question), Erwin of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Davao councilor urges people to help decide in online vote) and Andrew of Alleba Politics (The national government owes us P142 Million). They helped spread the word about our online poll.

The City Council committee on Finance, Ways & Means, & Appropriation will hold a public hearing on this issue tomorrow at 9 a.m.

You might want to drop by to express your views, not just on how we should get the money but, more importantly, what to do with it.

Here’s one feedback sent to us by Frederick – see comments at Back online 4.

He suggests to unwire Davao and go Wimax!

5:18 a.m.

Another friend passes away

Mindanao’s Mr. Newspaperman, Angelo “Gil” Abarico passed away yesterday.

I paid tribute to him, and to Vic Sai, via a privilege speech at the City Council’s session this morning.

The full text is at

(9:29 a.m.)

Hurts the pocket

My wife Evelyn and or four children are in my heart today, Valentine’s Day. They are my Kapuso and Kapamilya.

Yet in the case of the heated TV ratings war between the two giant networks, ABS-CBN (Kapamilya) and GMA (Kapuso) my heart bleeds.

I have plenty of friends on both networks, and my wife even provides plant decors to the two studios.

I am saddened that in their recent ratings rivalry both are hurting on their pockets. Due Diligencer reports that from Jan 2, 2008 highs of P34.50 and P7.80, ABS stocks has plunged to P25; GMA went skidding to P5.90, respectively. Both suffering more than 24 percent down. This means that my friends on both side who owns stocks lost quite a sum of money.

This clearly shows that the market reacted negatively on the noise of their ratings war.

(6:35 a.m.)

New Bacolod airport

The national government has just opened the new Bacolod-Silay airport.

I read the news in a number of online versions of national newspapers. However, none described the exact location or how far it is from downtown Bacolod.

Calling the attention of news reporters and editors. The obvious one important information readers and travelers who are not from Negros would want to know is how far this new airport is from Bacolod.

What’s next?

Very intriguing!

After the Erap conviction, people asked “Who’s next?”

I have little doubt who is on the mind of many.

Well, after yesterday’s Senate probe on the ZTE scandal, the Philippine Star has a roadmap on “What Next?

And with this accompanying toon:

I have no doubt who is tainted with the letter E!


(4:37 a.m.)

In the news