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Monday, April 22, 2024
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Gallardo takes the reins as Oro Press Club Prexy

By Mike Baños

Veteran news writer and photojournalist Froilan O. Gallardo is the new President of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) Inc.

The multi-awarded Gallardo is based in Cagayan de Oro and has covered Mindanao, in over thirty years as a freelance journalist, correspondent and stringer of various media organizations, most notably its conflicts and peace initiatives.  

In the 2000 all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), he embedded himself among the Philippine Marines from Lanao del Sur to Maguindanao. He covered the kidnappings in Sulu and Basilan, the arrival of the US military in Zamboanga, the 2003 and 2008 wars against the MILF, the mass evacuations, the Ampatuan Massacre in 2009, Zamboanga Siege in 2013, Mamasapano tragedy in 2015, Marawi Siege in 2017, Mindanao’s festivals, disasters including typhoons Sendong and Pablo in Mindanao and Yolanda in Leyte-Samar, mass actions, prayer rallies. He also covered events featuring Jorge Madlos of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao, the New People’s Army, Nur Misuari and the Moro National Liberation Front, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and the MILF, and covered as well peacebuilding efforts in various parts of Mindanao.

Veteran War Correspondent Froilan Gallardo is the 2024 President of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club.

In his inaugural speech during the 73rd induction of officers held at the plush Limketkai Luxe Hotel on March 17, Gallardo rued the negative publicity the media in Cagayan de Oro has received due to the actuations of some of its members, the deteriorating quality of news reportage, a situation worsened by the economic losses sustained by the print industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic and shift to online media.

“Against this backdrop, what should the Cagayan de Oro Press Club do? We cannot rely on dole outs and remain at the mercy of the politicians. If we continue doing that, we, the industry itself would become irrelevant and eventually lose the game. The public would know that we are already bought, and become mouth pieces of every politician who claims to be tom, dick and harry,” Gallardo noted.

“Despite our shortfalls, journalists and the members of COPC is part of our democratic system. We provide you with the correct information while you stay safe and neatly tucked in your homes. While you sleep in your beds, be assured that gising pa ang mga reporters gathering data of a sunog,” he further stressed.

Media’s key role in nation building was likewise emphasized by Guest Speaker MGen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, commander of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division based in Camp Edilberto Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City in his inspirational message. 

COPC Code of Ethics (photo by Irene Dayo)

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to the members of the press who have been instrumental in bringing awareness to the public, and playing an important role in the “Whole-of-Nation Approach” of the government by providing a forum for public transparency, which is necessary for legitimacy and accountability,” Cuerpo noted.

“Our journey along with the vision to become a World-Class, Multi-Mission Ready, and Cross-Domain Capable Philippine Army by 2040 does not come easy,” he said. “As much as it implies the need to improve our military techniques and skills, we also need to be updated with the recent technological advancements and strengthen our relationships with  our counterpart agencies and media partners. In our continues quest to attain stable peace and security in Northern Mindanao and Caraga, we recognize that the media is not only a pillar of democracy, but also a partner in achieving lasting peace and development,” he added.

The 2024 COPC officers and board members take their oacth of office. (photo courtesy of Amor Barlisan)

“With this, the Joint Task Force Diamond stands in full support of the free and responsible press,” Cuerpo said.

Also inducted into office by Cagayan de Oro City Vice Mayor Jocelyn B. Rodriguez were the following officers who were elected during the COPC’s annual elections on February 10, 2024: Hanne Pisos-Abris (Executive Vice President), Nef Luczon (Vice President for Print), Annaliza Reyes (Vice President for Broadcast), Steph Berganio (Corporate Secretary), Gal Banaag (Treasurer), and Joey Nacalaban (Auditor).

Also inducted were the following members of the Board of Trustees: Tony Albania, Amor Barlisan, Martin Rapanot, and Allan Mediante.

“Tonight we renew our commitment to press freedom, truthful information and our vow to serve the Cagayan de Oro community,” Gallardo concluded.

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