News Commentary

STAR president honored as Outstanding Manilan

- Evelyn Macairan -

MANILA, Philippines -  The city government of Manila on Friday evening awarded STAR president and chief executive officer Miguel G. Belmonte with the Outstanding Manilan Medallion of Honor for the category of Print Media Advocacy for 2011.

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim said Belmonte was selected as one of the 10 awardees for Outstanding Manilans this year in recognition of his and The STAR Group of Publications’ valuable contribution in delivering the news to Filipinos. The STAR Group’s flagship publication, The Philippine STAR, is regarded as one of the country’s leading English broadsheets, teaming up with its sister tabloid, Pilipino STAR Ngayon, to make The STAR Group the most formidable newspaper group in the country.

For the last 31 years, the City of Manila has been conferring the Outstanding Manilans Medallion of Honor to those who have excelled in their fields of endeavor that include public service, spiritual leadership, finance, business, communications and diplomacy.

The city government also gives recognition to non-Manilans who have made outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the city.

The awarding ceremonies served as one of culminating activities of the 440th Araw ng Maynila celebration.

Lim said this year’s Araw ng Maynila is “most triumphant” because the country is also celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of its national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal; the 400th founding anniversary of the pontifical and royal University of Sto. Tomas; and the centennial of De La Salle University.

Aside from Belmonte, the nine other awardees for 2011 are Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales (law and jurisprudence), Justice Andres Reyes Jr. (judicial administration), Philippine National Police chief Director General Raul Bacalzo (criminal justice system and police administration), Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. (diplomacy and corporate leadership), GMA Network chairman/CEO Atty. Felipe Gozon (social responsibility in broadcasting), Megaworld Corp. chairman Andrew Tan (business entrepreneurship and management), Fr. Jose Arcilla, S.J. (history and education), Emilio Yap III of Manila Bulletin (publishing and corporate diversity), and Cristina Lim-Yuson (culture and values formation).

Vice President Jejomar Binay (center) joins Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim (left) in conferring the Outstanding Manilan award to STAR president and CEO Miguel G. Belmonte on the occasion of Manila’s 440th founding anniversary.FERNAN NEBRES

“These awardees have shown the way for others to emulate. Some of the awardees are very young yet at their age they were able to show that what older people can do, they can do better. That is why they were selected,” Lim said.

He cited the poem, “Live a Life that Matters” by Michael Josephson, as the inspiration for the selection of the awardees.

Part of the poem reads, “How will the value of your days be measured? What will matter is not what you bought but what you built, not what you got but what you gave. What will matter is not your success but your significance. What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught. What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example. What will matter is not your competence but your character.”

The mayor said, “You awardees have made a choice, and you choose to live a life that matters. This is the essence of our awards.”

Belmonte said it was an honor to be conferred with the Medallion of Honor and that even if he is not a resident of Manila, he has considered the city as his second home.

After all, the city is where The STAR has been headquartered since its inception in 1986, bearing witness to Belmonte’s ascent to success and prominence in the publishing business. He is largely credited for steering The Philippine STAR and The STAR Group to corporate leadership since taking over as president in 1998.

“I thank Mayor Alfredo Lim and the City of Manila for embracing me as a son of the city, and for giving me this great honor of being one of the 10 Outstanding Manilans this year,” Belmonte said.

“My late mother, Betty Go-Belmonte, was also an awardee back in 1994, which makes this award all the more special and meaningful for me,” he added.

Manila Historical and Heritage Commission vice chairperson Gemma Cruz Araneta believes that the committee chose Belmonte because at his young age, he has made his mark in the media industry.

“He is a young Filipino entrepreneur and has made a special (contribution) in the media sector,” Araneta said.

Apart from its key role as a purveyor of truth, The STAR is one of the big corporations located in Manila and is easily one of its big taxpayers.

The company has also assisted in the environmental campaign of the city through tree-planting projects.

“We are completely supportive of Mayor Lim and his projects in Manila and we try to highlight the positive things that he has been doing through The STAR,” he added.

In the citation for Belmonte, he was also credited for “upholding the finest labor policies that consider employees and equals as members of his own family.”

Belmonte explained, “It has always been our priority to take good care of our employees and to look after their welfare.”

Aside from Belmonte, other members of The STAR family who were previously given the Outstanding Manilans award include former columnist Arturo Borjal for journalism (1981); the company’s founding publisher, Maximo Soliven, for journalism (1987); founding chairman Betty Go-Belmonte for journalism (1994); and former columnist Fr. James Reuter, SJ for spiritual leadership and civic responsibility (1998).










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