Cebu News

Veteran columnist Bobit Avila writes 30

The Freeman
Veteran columnist Bobit Avila writes 30
Valeriano “Bobit” Avila.

CEBU, Philippines — Valeriano “Bobit” Avila, whose opinion columns graced the pages of The FREEMAN for decades, died yesterday at the age of 70.

His family has not made a formal announcement as to the cause of his death but he had been diagnosed with cancer last year. He also had a kidney transplant several years back.

He was writing a daily column in The FREEMAN called “Shooting Straight” before his illness forced him to temporarily stop writing last year. He was also writing a column in the Philippine STAR.

Aside from being a columnist, Avila also hosted the talk show “Straight from the Sky” on SkyCable, which unlocked a key milestone in local television production when it turned 20 years last year.

In a special feature in February 2020, The FREEMAN economic journalist Ehda Dagooc writes:

“Long before the word ‘influencer’ became a buzzword in today’s digital generation, Bobit has already owned this reputation in the field of journalism in Cebu and in other parts of Visayas.

“Because of his untarnished name, Bobit easily gained the trust of the community as well as the leaders of various sectors, may it be in politics, business or the religious sectors. In fact, in just one year from the debut of ‘Straight from the Sky’ talk show, he became the first TV record holder. All other TV shows never lasted for a year, even those shows in the mainstream channels.”

The FREEMAN opinion editor Bryan Roy Padilla said Avila gained a strong following from the newspaper’s readers.

“Mr. Avila was certainly one of our most-read columnists because he wrote on a wide variety of topics and was never afraid to say what he wanted. His tibdits also often became tips for news stories and other columns,” Parilla said.

“We offer our condolences to his family. His passing will leave a space in this section that can only be substituted, but never fully filled or satisfied. His presence, as well as his words, will surely be missed,” he added.

The Cebu Citizens-Press Council, in a Facebook post, said it was also mourning the seasoned writer’s passing.

Before Avila made a history in the local television scene, the outspoken true-blue Cebuano had been in the journalism sphere (broadcast and print) as a young businessman.

According to Dagooc’s article, Avila finished Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) at the University of San Carlos and that journalism was initially not part of his life’s itinerary. He thought his heart was to help the family’s flourishing business in real estate, leasing and entertainment management (cinema).

However, his sharp thought and intellect brought him to an unfamiliar ground in print and broadcasting under the tutelage of Philippine journalism guru, the late Max Soliven.

After the EDSA Revolution in the 1980s, Avila found himself falling in love with the selfless nature of being a journalist. He became the first regional bureau chief of the Philippine STAR, held a program over DYLA, and got himself a generous space in the opinion page of Cebu’s oldest newspaper, The FREEMAN.

On the sides, Avila managed several of his family’s companies, located in both downtown and uptown areas.

“Needless to say, his dedication to the profession was not for money, but rather to satisfy his heart’s desires to be a watchdog, to serve and to inform,” Dagooc writes.

Avila’s wake will be at Our Lady of China Chapel in Sacred Heart Parish, D. Jakosalem Street, Cebu City, starting July 24.

Daily masses will be held at 8 p.m., except today, Sunday, July 25, which will be held at 7 p.m. Funeral announcement will follow. JMD (FREEMAN)

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