CAGAYAN DE ORO PRESS CLUB

I wish to inform the members of the COPC that it is only our club that has its own building outside of Manila. The National Press Club has its edifice too. Definitely, this is our treasure and a source of pride. I was publishing my own newspaper then, the Mindanao Reporter. It was shutdown when martial law was declared by then Pres. Marcos. After seven years, I established “The Headliner”. Four other weekly papers were existing.

We started not from scratch but from nothing. The building was installed by a construction firm, (Solid) at its expense, which occupied it for several years for free. Only one room was allotted to us for our office. The land was donated by the government.

When the building was inaugurated, Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr. (father of Pres. Noy Aquino) was the guest speaker and the affair was held at the Caprice restaurant located in front of the COPC building. Aquino who was aspiring to run for the presidency, in his speech, said “If Pres. Marcos will cheat me in the election, I will run to the hills and hunt him.”

I know the facts because I was then a neophyte in the media after my study of journalism and law in Manila and I was present during the inauguration. During that time Journalism degree was offered only in Manila. Newswriting dwelt in the pyramid style. Today we use the inverted pyramid on the four Ws namely: Where, What, When and Who. And we based newswriting on the elements involved.

COPC president that time was Manny Quisumbing, Jr.

Some of the pioneering members were: Atty. Homobono Adaza, Atty. Reuben Canoy, Atty. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., Atty Ronulfo Emata Sabanal, Manuel Quisumbing, Sr., Manuel Quisumbing, Jr. Noli Olarte, Ed Montalvan, Cris Turrecha, Camilo Ronquillo, Sarah Velez, Ben Emata, Rodrigo Lim, Buddy Calumno, Maripaz Castanos, Emil Coralles, Ametta Suarez, etc.

The COPC was strictly for print media only and it was very difficult to become a member. An applicant should be sponsored by a legitimate member. He must pass through the hole of a needle and must be approved by a panel. Just one objection from a member means the applicant is rejected and out forever. I was sponsored by Manny Quisumbing, Jr.

Press conferences then were rare. No media week. No press freedom week. No daily newspaper. No in-fighting among the media people. No jealousy, no bickering. No “tigbas”.

Later, then Gov. Homobono Adaza proclaimed Press Freedom Week for the province of Misamis Oriental.

Other media organizations came into being but vanished into thin air.

Until this day, the COPC stands on solid ground, strong, fearless and independent.

BEN EMATA
Past President of the COPC
Awarded “Most Outstanding Journalist in Region 10” given by the Federation of Provincial Press Clubs of the Philippines;

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