A Full 100 Years
RECOLLECTIONS, REFLECTIONS - Dr. Jose "Dodong" R. Gullas (The Freeman) - October 6, 2019 - 12:00am

As the current year approaches its end, I begin to have mixed emotions.

The year 2019 is doubly significant for me. It marks the centennial of two institutions that are very close to my heart – the University of the Visayas and The Freeman newspaper. These two both date back to the year 1919.

At the University, we have lined up activities to celebrate all those 100 years. The preparations have actually started a long time before. A centennial is such a momentous occasion and deserves a long and meticulous celebration.

In the UV main campus, we put up a modern building equipped with modern facilities. Interestingly, this is at a time when other schools are tightening their belts due to the implementation of the government’s K-to-12 program in the country’s educational system. By the looks of it, we are expanding while the others are scrimping.

Minimizing expenditures would have been a wise move for us, as well. Holding on to our resources is the smart thing to do during uncertain times. We understand that but, at the same, we do not want to undermine UV’s 100-year story.

Over at the Banilad campus, preparations are as grand. We have found an ally to support us in transforming both the Vicente Gullas Memorial Hospital, along with our College of Medicine, into a one-of-a-kind facility hereabouts. The project is currently in full swing.

At The Freeman, the celebrations are equally spirited. Several commemorative activities have been scheduled and held since February. I am much grateful for the support of Mr. Miguel Belmonte of the Star Media Group, the umbrella organization to which The Freeman belongs, for seeing to it that our centennial celebration would still have the expected pomp and revelry even amid efforts to minimize expenses.

Again, interestingly, this is happening when the newspaper industry is going through a crisis. One local newspaper has already been forced to bring its operations online. And yet The Freeman could not contain its jubilation, and even trains its sight on “the next 100 years!”

Our editors say that they’re not scared of these uncertain times – that, instead, they’re excited about the possibilities of the future. That’s positive attitude, which I take as assurance that the same “fair and fearless’ journalism that The Freeman is known for will continue. And I am confident that the business savvy of Migs Belmonte will help the newspaper hold itself well forward.

Running UV for the longest time has been my commitment to the legacy of Papa Inting and Mama Pining. Reviving The Freeman is my tribute to my uncle Tio Paulino’s memory. These two ‘stories’ I’ve taken on have grown so much that, individually, they have become bigger than my own.

The University of the Visayas and The Freeman have become personal causes for me, for the Gullas family. I cannot afford to be tired, for these two institutions shall continue. It seems that these two are my life’s purpose.

I am glad that UV and The Freeman have each scored a full 100 years, and counting. I am sad that the centennial celebrations are soon coming to an end. Above all, however, I am eager to discover what the future holds for us. Fortunately, from here, I can see light in the horizon.

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