Monthly Archives: December 2009

Entering Silver: MAGDALO Reflections 2009

To all MAGDALO staff and all Emilians,

Another year has passed in the history of our beloved publication as it slides down further into the annals of darkness.

One of the most challenging years of our history began with adviser Armando Paras’ continued throwing of his weight to the staff’s sheer detriment. The second issue was released several months behind, showing more of a forced pro-admin slant, as evidenced by the front page. In the issue, Editor-in-Chief Erica Pabon wrote a rather sanitized account of an incident featuring former EIC Malou Manuel’s arrogant criticism of the batch’s first issue.

The staff also had problems regarding how to treat the evaluation of EAC’s application as a guest squad in the NCAA when there was no confirmation yet of such, which would only be made known in April.

It was also revealed that Paras’ maneuvering cost the staff a chance to release their third and fourth issues, and a press release being disseminated to the students, not to mention lodging a proposal about what he claims is “MY SOLUTION”: tampering with staff articles, his first crack at article selection, and even outsourcing the layout work of the paper to the Aguinaldo International School staff. The last one is a direct stifling of the publication’s rights over its content. This coming from the same man who purportedly screamed “I DON’T CARE ABOUT JOURNALISM, GODDAMN IT!”, according to a source.

Like the batch that came before it, some staff members were dismayed with the management and took the courageous step of taking Paras out of circulation around February. However, the man was like a leech, as sources said he eventually remained as adviser even when the dismissal papers were signed. Emboldened by this, Paras plotted to commit the worst acts of treachery yet in our publication’s history: denying the incumbent staff a chance to apply for the 2009-2010 Editorial Board, as well as abolishing the journalism seminars and qualifying exams that have become a fixture of the MAGDALO selection process for many years.

At first, they were only rumours, but some staffers were personally told by Paras of his evil designs. The completed third and fourth issues were also held back from release. On his own initiative, he also destroyed over a decade’s worth of priceless archival materials comprising memoranda, personal effects, and back issues we tirelessly preserved over the years, including rare samples of the MAGDALO WEEKLY newsletters, test samples of the MAGDIWANG literary series, and the first-ever TALAKASAN NEWS BULLETIN from 2001.

As school year 2009-2010 came, the staff were left anxious as to whether Paras will actually pull off his plan. He did in June, with another element later revealed: not only will the incumbent staff be denied re-entry into MAGDALO, all students from 2nd year to 4th year will be blocked as well, virtually leaving the selection pool only to freshmen applicants who would be forced to sign a membership contract. Until this day, no rationale has ever been given for such a move, not even from EAC President Dr Jose Paulo Campos and Student Affairs Dean Estefanio Boquiron, despite its glaring violation of the EAC STUDENT MANUAL’s Article XI Section I:

The college has a complete program of cultural, professional, athletics, enrichment program, values education program, and co-curricular activities offered by the different student organizations to interested students who desire to expand their horizons and at the same time make their life more interesting, enriching, and rewarding.

While such a move could mean starting over from a clean slate, the way the plan was carried out at the expense of many people signaled an underhanded effort to sweep 24 years of our proud history under the rug in the name of convenience and subservience. What’s also discomforting is that despite the ban on 2nd to 4th year students’ staff eligibility, a picture that surfaced on one neophyte staff member’s profile shows at least one student wearing uniforms only used in the upper class.

The staff hit the ground running with releasing bondpaper issues called PLUS NEWS, published by the so-called THE NEW MAGDALO 10MAN TEAM, which reports on the goings-on inside EAC. However, the reception was less than warm, especially among the ex-staff who are better skilled in campus paper production, given what rudimentary knowledge of which they were able to learn. It was also discovered that the articles in those issued are not actually written by the staffers. Some staffers even theorized that Dean Nelida Lares’ takeover of the School of Liberal Arts-Mass Communication Department from incumbent Elvira Gonzales – a former adviser as well – rendered it into a MAGDALO feeder group that would supply the paper with potential staff members trained in her equally twisted image.

Sometime after the schoolyear began, word surfaced that Paras and Aurora Yumul nitpicked two particular entries that actively denounced their behaviour. Lares even tried to ask the purported author about it for supposed purposes of ‘verification’…when she clearly had no right to do so.

All of these happened while so much riveting events took place in our country: Francis M and former President Cory Aquino’s death, the double-whammy effect of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, and the Maguindanao Massacre, to name a few, which could have been given an unbiased analysis from an Emilian’s perspective.

Now, after so much that has gone our way in 2009, all the trials and tribulations, we still ask whether our publication can still be saved in the light of the damage the EAC administration have caused. It seems we will never truly learn from our mistakes. Making a clean slate is wrong when the reputation of the person proposing it is too stained, that to even think of it is an insult.

As our publication’s 25th anniversary creeps closer on the horizon, we pray that future batches of MAGDALO staffers be given a chance to undergo the same trials we all went through in days long past. We surely hope that someone who carries the same fire for courage and freedom we all possessed would be seen in those who are about to join. We would surely love to meet them, despite obvious indoctrination not to interact with us ‘for their own sake.’