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Why Veronica went back to CNN - FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo

For a while, we did miss her on CNN, didn’t we? It was easy to change channels to BBC where she moved to and stayed for nearly a year and a half. All right, it was just a click away on your remote control, but since old habits die hard, you kept glued to, yes, CNN (except late nights when you relish those good old movies on the TNT Channel). We did miss her quaint style of reporting the news, especially her cute British accent, didn’t we?


Rejoice, CNN followers, for Veronica Pedrosa (now Mrs. Mark Phillips, her husband being also with CNN as a came-raman) is back where she belongs, now based neither in Atlanta, Georgia (home of CNN), nor in London (where BBC is and where she and her parents, brothers and sisters were "in exile" during the Marcos Years) but in Hong Kong where CNN opened last month a new multi-million-dollar digital studio (the station’s most modern and technologically-sophisticated facility outside of the US).


"Why did I move back to CNN?" asked Veronica, clad in cheongsam, during a brief chat at the coffee shop of the Manila Hotel where she covered the recent conference of Asian political parties, with Benazir Bhutto as one of the dignitaries present. "Well, I felt that I wasn’t growing at BBC where there were not as many opportunities for Asians. I don’t think there’s any prejudice against Asians, though, although there was more competition which came from people who were not Asians. In any organization, ability and talent should be the decising factors, not race."


Veronica moved to BBC in 1998 after she and Mark got married here in June that year, based in London anchoring news bulletins on BBC World Television and the BBC World Service’s flagship current-affairs breakfast program The World Today. Veronica originally joined CNN in Atlanta in 1993 as a news anchor, presenting news bulletins for East Asia for three years, and then anchored for CNN International until 1998.


"I had to be with Mark in London after our wedding," said Veronica whose romance with Mark blossomed on the Internet where they started as "blind dates." "It had to be me who should move to London."


image images/ent1b.jpg" border=0 align="right">The very tall Mark is covering mostly dangerous beats such as the wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Congo, Rwanda, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Timor. A big breather for Mark was his recent assignment which was the Sydney Olympics. He and Veronica are now based in Hong Kong where they stay in a cool flat they both fell in love with at first sight ("Good feng shui," said Veronica, obviously relieved that "there are less wars in Asia" for Mark to cover).


Back at CNN, Veronica has just been appointed Anchor/Producer along with Lian Pek as Correspondent/Anchor for CNN Financial News.


"There’s more challenge in my new job," admitted Veronica, now a mother of 18-month-old Gabriel Luis Kevin. "I have the chance to be more creative. Besides anchoring and producing, I’m doing a lot of writing, interviewing, reporting and doing features, such as this conference of political parties that I’m here to cover. I love the challenge."


She keeps what she described as "unfriendly hours," prompt and punctual at her post from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily, an ungodly schedule that Veronica doesn’t allow to hamper with her motherly duties.


"I can cuddle Gabriel in one hand," she said, "and talk to somebody on the phone in the other hand, can’t I?"


Good thing she has a yaya to keep her and Gabriel Company – that is, when mom, STAR columnist Carmen Navarro-Pedrosa isn’t visiting – since, according to Veronica, "the nature of his work takes Mark away from us most of the time."


Being based in Hong Kong also gives her that secure feeling of being "so near home." Her parents and two brothers are here, while one brother is in Singapore and one sister has remained in London.


"I realized how important it is to have an extended family," said Veronica. "Having your own child makes you look at your parents differently; it makes you appreciate how much they love and care for you. You don’t realize how much devotion your parents have for you until you have a child of your own."


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the good news that you will never hear on CNN.

* * *

image ent1.jpg" border=0 align="left">In last Saturday’s (Oct. 7) issue, Funfare congratulated Willie Revillame for donating blood to his MTB co-host Amy Perez who needed blood transfusion after a gall-bladder surgery last week. The Willie who donated blood to Amy was Willie Cuevas, one of the MTB writers, but Willie C.’s (Type 0) blood wasn’t used because Amy’s sisters Nina and Au-Au had already donated their own.


Other friends also volunteered to donate blood but there was more than enough.


Seven stones the size of santol seeds were extracted from Amy’s gall bladder. The day after the surgery, however, Amy suffered internal bleeding due to a liver infection so she had to be opened up again.


But she’s safe now, fast recovering. Soon, she should be back hosting. MTB

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