Inside Page:

On the Tribune’s founder

The management of the Tribune is grateful to PBM Edwin Tanael for sponsoring a draft resolution enacting an ordinance declaring the late Fredeswindo Tomagan Gianan Sr. as the Father of Journalism and Free Press in the province of Catanduanes for shepherding this community newsweekly to what it is today, the oldest and most credible media outlet in the island.

The late Indo Gianan was among those honored with The Outstanding Catandunganon Award (TOCA) in 1998 and this ordinance, if approved, would further enshrine his name among the notable individuals in the island’s history.

We did not ask for this; rather, it is the initiative of PBM Tanael, who was among the numerous subjects of both criticism and praise from this paper and had in fact filed a libel case against this publisher and columnist Jex Lucero for what a deemed to be a libelous reference in the latter’s piece.

While we recognize the right of a media group to take offense at what it deems to be gratuitous language in the ordinance in referring to the Tribune as “the most reliable, fair, crusading and premier provincial newspaper in Catanduanes” through “impartial, accurate and fearless reporting,” it is up to the author of the resolution and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to decide how to characterize the man it is honoring.

Indeed, the Tribune does not have the monopoly of claiming to be impartial, accurate and fearless as far as practicing journalism is concerned.

What is galling, though, is the temerity of some social media personalities to focus on the Tribune founder’s short stint as a politician, when he was first and foremost a journalist beginning in the late Sixties.

The Tribune, they shrieked on the airwaves and on the Net, does not deserve the SP’s accolade as its publisher-editor was convicted of libel and his license as civil engineer taken away by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Of course, the public would be correct in pardoning them for their wayward thinking.

Stepping on powerful toes and getting slapped with libel cases is a badge of honor a true journalist wears with pride, and we have enough of these harassment suits to fill an entire wall.

On the other hand, the PRC case was not an offshoot of my career in journalism, but rather an unfortunate failure of judgment that was raised to the Ombudsman and the PRC by someone who presented himself as a shortlived columnist a few years back.

True, I am not a graduate of journalism like the late Joel Son. Panti or my son Cris Eugene, but I can certainly give them, or anyone else on local media, a run for their money, so to speak.


From the United States of America comes this comment on the Tribune’s 40th anniversary, from an aunt, tia Fema Arcilla, who has stayed there for five decades together with her sister, Athena:

“I can certainly attest to the Editor-Publisher’s dedication to the timely release of the Catanduanes Tribune every week. It is a lifetime commitment with no grace periods, timeout or vacations.

While on actual vacation in the US a few years back, he still had to work on the Tribune even if he was 7000 miles away! With the Philippines. one day ahead in time difference, he had to finish the issue by the weekend when everyone was supposed to be partying or taking trips somewhere, just to make sure the paper comes out the following Wednesday.

It may not be fun sometimes but such is the life of a dedicated journalist.

We’re so very proud of you, Fernan, my nephew, for reaching out to all corners of Catanduanes & to all Catandunganons all over the world!

Congratulations on Catanduanes Tribune’s 40th.Anniversary!”

It was in 2011 when I visited the US and on prior and subsequent travels to Asian cities, I have always brought a laptop along, working on the Tribune whenever I can and sometimes having to beg off from invitations or visits to a tourist spot just to finish the paper and email it page by page to the printing press.

Putting out a weekly paper by your lonesome is a very difficult vocation and markedly different from the broadcast media where one has limited time slots and weekend rest.

Still, being taken seriously by the public and those in power is enough reward.


PHYSICS AND MEDICINE. A group of students at medical school were struggling with a physics lecture and let the professor know of their disquiet. One student rudely interrupted the lecture to ask: “Why do we have to learn this stuff?”

“To save lives,” replied the professor.

“How does physics save lives?” the student persisted sarcastically.

The professor shot back: “It keeps idiots like you from graduating medical school.”

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