Tag Archives: Magdalo 08-09

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.’

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL EMILIANS!
LET OUR FIRE NEVER BE EXTINGUISHED!
LONG LIVE THE MAGDALO EDITORIAL BOARD!
DEFEND STUDENT RIGHTS AND CAMPUS PRESS FREEDOM!

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2008: A LOOK BACK

To all staff and Emilians,

The year 2008 has turned out to be another depressing year in the history of our beloved publication.

It started with more meddling by that joke of an adviser named Dr Leopoldo dela Cruz. As usual, there were more delays in the production of the issues because of his tampering with perfectly good articles. Although the staff under Wendy Guzman were able to eventually produce four issues, still the quality left something to be desired.

Because of his evil ways, the staff planned to resign en masse, but he got wind of the plan and asked them to restore a relationship with him.

Then in March 2008, dela Cruz did an act of betrayal that finally sank his credibility with the publication. He unilaterally barred non-staff members from entering the MAGDALO Office just because Mr Pierre Ordona allowed his crush to use the office computer for typing a thesis. His denial of the staff’s permission to work on what should have been their final issue for the year during the summer did not help his standing.

His brand of corruption demoralised the staff so much that only a few wanted to return the following year.

Schoolyear 2008-2009 began with the uncertainty of how the publication would fare now that practically the entire staff was gutted and threatened to be replaced by an all-new team of puppets. Word came down that dela Cruz was going to be replaced. The man turned out to be Armando Paras. However, the greatest threat to the publication’s honor came within days of dela Cruz’s dismissal…

On June 25, Ma Ye Albiola of EAC-Cavite’s TAMBULI sent the staff a message telling them to work on their grammar first before writing so many criticisms against the school. Her pubmate, Christian Paul Martinez, did the same by creating a thread comparing EAC Cavite to EAC Manila that eventually turned into a TAMBULI/MAGDALO flame war for most of July. The sheer timing of dela Cruz’s termination and the appearance of his former TAMBULI staffers criticizing MAGDALO can only mean one thing: He unleashed these people as a probable act of revenge against the staff perhaps, not to mention the rigging of the qualifying exams to make things hard for incumbents to return.

Soon enough, some of the  staff members past and present came out to fight back, even if some thought of it as being the work of ‘easy’ people. Mrs Pia Colleen Chan-Fuentebella sought for the hostility to stop, when she denied herself a chance to see the facts. There are times when it is okay to stay quiet and let things run its course, but there are occassions when it is only proper to fight back when one’s own dignity and honor are gravely in danger. This was one of them.

Eventually, the flaming died down, but Martinez never fully apologized to the staff for acting the way they did. The new Editorial Board, with Ms Erica DA Pabon as Editor-in-chief, quietly assumed office in August 2008…really late by any stretch of the imagination. For unexplained reasons, they were labelled as the NEW Magdalo, up to the point that School of Liberal Arts professor Mrs Aurora Veronika Yumul wanted a NEW tag to be put on the staff box as if they were some fresh-out-of-the-factory product.

This untested lot, who showed much promise, went to a seminar in Baguio in September, but whatever they learned there could not be ascertained. This should have set the tone for a possible return to the CEGP LUNDUYAN seminar in Rosario, La Union, the following October.

Little did anyone know that they were experiencing problems with publishing their first issue (VOL XXIV-1) as the end of the first semester loomed. OSA Dean Estefanio Boquiron would deny the staff their opportunity to go to LUNDUYAN, where the new staff could have learned more about campus journalism than the school’s in-house seminar would ever impart.

The issue was eventually released during enrollment time, but the reception was mixed, due to the different layout and a radically changed nameplate, among others. Despite the marketing as the ‘new’ staff, many glaring flaws soon came to light.

In November, the first real criticism over the first issue came…not from a concerned student, but from one of MAGDALO’s own: former Editor-in-Chief Malou Manuel (2003-2004) BSN 2005.

As narrated by Staff Writer Rachel Ann Francia, Manuel had a copy of the paper and started nitpicking every last part, brashly calling it as garbage compared to the issues she produced and even invited Francia to read her articles. She even slammed the paper down like swatting a bug.

Unfortunately, no copies for the 2003-2004 Board’s issues still remain in the office, and it is known in some quarters that Manuel’s reign was not a good one.

As Christmas loomed, production of the second issue was somehow held up due to certain factors that only OSA knows.

Yet one thing remains clear: the hopes of the editorial board performing as advertised were quickly dashed because of the heavy turnover of the staff, leaving less room for institutional memory and handing down of lessons. They are not the NEW MAGDALO some people in the administration try to market.

As 2009 dawns upon us and we reflect at the things that came to MAGDALO, all the missed opportunities to learn from past lessons and from other student publications, we Emilians are left to ask:

Is there any hope left of salvaging the credibility of this paper?

Can our MAGDALO be overhauled to finally carry the voice of the students, not the administration bastards who comprise the screening committee every year?

When will the EAC administration ever come to realize that the staff cannot perform well if they are not given every opportunity to expand their creative horizons as students and as citizens of this country?

When will the school see the writing on the wall that states all is not well with the publication? When no more student applies to the exams every year? maybe when despite the good work, no student comes along to pick up a copy?

Let us all pray that some good things will come to MAGDALO in 2009, especially as the paper is creeping closer to the 25th anniversary in 2010.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL EMILIANS!
LET OUR FIRE NEVER BE EXTINGUISHED!
LONG LIVE THE MAGDALO EDITORIAL BOARD!