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Philippine News: Child of Historical Events

NCM Profile

NCM, Benjamin Pimentel and Pueng Vongs Posted: Sep 25, 2003

The Philippine News was founded in 1961 in the San Francisco home of expatriate Alex Esclamado. It has become one of the oldest and biggest Asian American newspapers with a weekly circulation of 120,000.

The civil rights and anti-war movements spurred activism among American-born Filipinos who had been chafing over experiences of discrimination. They would find cause with recently arrived political exiles from the Philippines, who came when Ferdinand Marcos imposed a dictatorship in 1972 (by declaring martial law) that would last for nearly two decades.

"Where there was a cause, Philippine News was there," said former editor and publisher Cherie Querol Moreno, who took the helm after Esclamado. "From the farmlands where Filipino workers fought for parity, to the bastions of municipal, state and federal power where Filipinos battled for equality in
applying for professional licenses."

Philippine News played a key role in exposing abuses of the Marcos regime, and the newspaper paid a price. Marcos reportedly urged or harassed advertisers not to do business with Philippine News. But in 1986, the dictator was overthrown, and shortly after the newspaper was bought by a company linked with Manila businessman Edgardo Espiritu.

After the Marcos years, the newspaper continued to report important news from the Philippines as well as from the Filipino American community through an international network of correspondents. It covered everything from the plight of Filipino World War II veterans to terrorist activity in the Philippines to the coming of age of Filipino youth.

The newspaper caught the attention of the Los Angeles Times and in 2003 agreed to offer its subscribers in Los Angeles the weekend edition of the Los Angeles Times. This is just the beginning and could mean more content sharing between the two papers, says current managing editor Beting Dolor. Lito Gutierrez and Dolor, established journalists in the Philippines, took over editorial operations of the newspaper in June 2002.

Under the team, the South San Francisco-based newspaper, online at www.philippinenews.com, continues the fight for the political empowerment of the community it began more than 40 years ago. "If you look at the numbers, Filipinos are just behind Mexicans and Chinese in California, but it is not as politically powerful as it should be, " says Dolor.

"We need to continue to tell the stories of successful Filipinos, and show that it is all right to move up. There are no glass ceilings. If an Irish American can be elected president in the 60's, why can't we elect a Filipino American eventually?"

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