The Long View: Transition

The Long View
By Manuel L. Quezon III
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:12:00 07/12/2010

The time has come to bid my readers farewell. I have accepted the President’s invitation to become a member of his communications team. My specific functions will focus on strategic planning in terms of messaging (including market research and polling), as well as editorial aspects of official communications, which in turn ranges from editorial guidelines and policies in general, to the Official Gazette in particular (bringing it from the 20th to the 21st Century), to corporate identity and institutional memory.

In the coming days, you will be reading more about this in the news section of this paper, so let me put forward a valedictory of sorts for this space.

This column began with an invitation from Eugenia Apostol to meet her at her residence; at the time I was a columnist for Today newspaper (on my 10th year of column and editorial-writing), and was serving as the head of the presidential museum. All the big guns of the Inquirer were there, from the editor in chief, Letty Magsanoc, to the publisher, Isagani Yambot, and my soon-to-be boss, Jorge Aruta. All were extremely warm, and soon enough, I received an invitation to join this paper.

This column began in February 2004; I started off as a contributing editor and was subsequently given the responsibility to head the Speakers’ Bureau. From the very start, management was supportive of my other engagements, whether in terms of continuing my work at the Philippines Free Press, or becoming the host of ANC’s “The Explainer,” or even serving as a lecturer at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran.

Together with my colleague John Nery, also gave us the opportunity to set up a blog, which we experimented with as a means to flesh out our columns, as well as tackle other issues in between deadlines. Just a few months ago, as the Inquirer Group began preparing to enter the field of radio broadcasting, I received an invitation to host a radio show, “Quezon’s Avenue,” which began shortly after the May 10 elections.

It’s been six years of learning, and the learning never stopped: but now it’s time to try something else.

I have been fortunate in having the best mentors anyone could ask for when it comes to writing or broadcasting: Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. who was my boss for a whole decade, his brother Enrique Locsin who has been every bit as kind in the Philippines Free Press; my bosses and colleagues in ANC, from Maria Ressa to Glenda Gloria and my producer, Twink Macaraig.

The Inquirer, for its part, has been a true family to me, concerned about every aspect of every employee’s wellbeing. The benefits of its employees are in many ways the gold standard for the industry because of the cooperation between labor and management; the paper’s president, Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, has been a true servant-leader, one who consults and doesn’t decree. There are those whose names, like Tintin, Tess and Emman—who, day in and day out, made sure we met our deadlines, who informed us of events, even took on the task of coordinating messages and invitations—only surface in these pages when it’s time to say farewell: but then, that only shows how so much that’s good, tireless and decent in this paper takes place behind the scenes.

I cannot speak highly enough of my editor, Jorge Aruta, not only because he’s been my boss, but because of the kind of boss he’s been: considerate, and with what I can only say is one of the lightest—yet deftest—touches as an editor. For better or worse, I can say you’ve gotten to read more of what I want to say, in the style and manner I want, thanks to him. He was always willing to introduce innovations into the otherwise cut-and-dried format of the opinion column: such as the introduction of pictures, or various column styles. He has been a democratic editor, as the often fierce clash of opinions within these pages can attest.

All my professional life in media has been spent in the Opinion Section: it essentially requires the writer to take a stand on every pressing issue of the day and to proceed from day to day explaining to the reader why the issues are issues: but only you, the reader, can judge whether I have managed to provide an informed opinion, regardless of whether or not you agree with me sometimes, all the time, or never. I’d had the privilege of being recognized for column-writing back in 1994; I am grateful that my efforts in this space were recognized by the Rotary Club of Manila’s Journalism Awards, with the Opinion Writer of the Year award for 2005.

Since the EDSA Revolution, this newspaper has been the journal of record for the life and times of what the INQUIRER editorialists always remind us is our “ongoing democratic project.” The issues of the day are debated in these opinion pages; and it is the supreme achievement of any opinion writer to join the ranks of the columnists of this paper.

So it is with the heaviest of heavy hearts that I bid this space farewell; it is a consolation, of course, to say that duty calls; but then, this column was a duty, too, and one that every columnist—and every reader, I hope—knows to be as important, and even more important, than any temporary designation or assignment in any other field of endeavor. Therefore I cannot say I am relinquishing this space to answer a higher calling; it is only a different one.

I have tried to illuminate, to explain, to understand and be understood; I have tried to entertain, to illustrate and to share the anger and joy, the indignation and optimism, that marks the beating of our collective, public, pulse. To those I have hurt, my apologies; to those who have shared my opinions, my thanks; to all my readers, my deepest gratitude for sharing your thoughts and time.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

23 thoughts on “The Long View: Transition

  1. Good luck! We’ll miss your opinions & your shows… But I guess now’s the chance to effect change inside. Again, good luck to you!

    — aka Number Cruncher

  2. I’m very grateful for all these years that you’ve shared with me through your news, and I’m not sad that you’re moving on to bigger audience, the President’s office.
    How lucky are we all…congratulations.

  3. Good luck, and all the best! The political blogging scene won’t be the same without you… but here’s hoping the government won’t be (more of) the same with you.

  4. Sir MLQ3, congratulations and good luck po! I will miss reading your column, your blogs, and hopefully you can still tweet! And let me thank you for replying to my tweets. (”,)

    I know you deserve to be part of the communications team. I know you can be of great help to President Noy’s administration!

    Wish you and the team all the best!

  5. Congratulations, Manuel. Another exciting chapter coming up – it will be an amazing adventure!

  6. Congratulations! Hope you can help explain and illuminate the hard things that the current administration has to do for our country!

  7. Congrats, Manolo. A well-deserved appointment. Those of us who have grown accustomed to getting our “daily dose” from your column, blog, TV and radio shows will surely miss the nuggets of joy that came from your detailed analytical and historical perspective as well as the lively and often robust discussions they inspired.

    But for the blogging community, our loss is the country’s gain. More power to you as you take on this new challenge!

  8. Wow! big Congratulations! i knew it from the very start. So, I won’t be able to read your “pearls of wisdom” anymore. Pls. do not forget your American girl friend on Twttier and FaceBook. Hey, man, you deserve it. What is your new job title?
    I am so happy for you my friend. Good luck! Pls. keep in touch.

  9. Congratulations, MLQ3!
    You and PNoy are two good people who can make things right in our country.
    I know it’s a sacrifice-financial & otherwise- but the country needs you.
    God Bless and Take Care. May all the forces of good go with you both always.

  10. Congratulations, Manolo. Nick and Bert here with you for so many years in your blog and enjoyed it immensely but losing your blog now so I’m so sad. But I’m happy for you, happy for our President Noynoy, and happy for my country, for having such good guys to serve the country.

  11. You’re a member of Noynoy’s government but, more importantly, a WITNESS for the Filipino people. Good luck. Hopefully, after six years you’ll have enough for a book.

  12. Hi, my dear friend,

    After serving the new Administration, I just wish that you will run for President also. You and your current Pres both shared the number 3 attached to your names. Third generations are bound for success.

    God Bless you always. I will surely miss your blog.

    BTW, did they get rid of that Cabral person who hoarded the International typhoon aid for Ondoy victims? i honestly think that she should be prosecuted to the fullest extend of Philippine Law for incompetence and greed. Stealing from typhoon victims is the lowest of the lowest creature on earth.

  13. Well done, Manolo! Good luck with the rat race! Remember what Lily Tomlin once said: “The trouble with the rat-race is that, even if you win, you’re still a rat.” 🙂

  14. Please impress upon Presi-Noy and his Cabinet —- what earns the respect and enthusiasm of the Filipino nation is not spinning of half-truths or making media-events from trivialities. Respect is earned by getting things done, and boy, does Pilipinas’ economy and societal infrastructure need a lot of things done, to include cutting kidnappings and burglaries and extortion by 30% or more; increasing the number of school buildings in Mindanao and other provinces; and honest governance, or in Noynoy’s slogan — walang korap.

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