Padayon, The FREEMAN!
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - July 20, 2019 - 12:00am

A hundred years of fair and fearless journalism! A hundred years of celebrating Cebu! From 1919-2019, The FREEMAN stands as Cebu’s longest-running community newspaper.

Congratulations to all in The FREEMAN who made these 100 years of service to Cebu and our people possible! Padayon, padayon, padayon for our people, for Cebu, for our country, for our world, for God!

Through the years, from 1919 until now, The FREEMAN has continued to be everyone’s daily companion. From the American Occupation to the Republic, through independence, martial law, and the dictatorship, across various national and local leaders, through challenges and hurdles, daily, The FREEMAN has continued to steadily provide the news, photos, commentaries, and more to all readers who, in turn, have generously shared their precious time!

Much gratitude to all those who have made The FREEMAN available every day, not only in Cebu, in other provinces and with the rest of the world, in print and digital form!

Sincere thank you to all the reporters, photographers, editors, columnists, other contributors, sponsors, other partners and, most especially, to the very important persons behind each issue, the production personnel, the management staff, including all those who distribute, sell, or get The FREEMAN to our valued readers! Daghang, daghang salamat!

Together, let us move forward to more years of daily partnership towards a better, peaceful, prosperous, protected world for our people and our planet! Padayon ta! Padayon, The FREEMAN!

Who would have imagined that the first 100 days of then President Joseph Ejercito Estrada would bring me to The FREEMAN? I was asked to make a short write-up about Erap’s 100 days as president for publication in a national newspaper. After interviewing those among the poor, including our regular favorite taho vendor, the verdict was clear --all interviewed agreed that “lalong nagheherap” sila with Erap. This article never saw print in that national newspaper sympathetic and supportive of Erap. Instead, God’s providence stepped in. In his perfect time, according to his will and with his grace, I continue to thank God for leading me to The FREEMAN!

Let me narrate again how that happened.

In the same week I was asked to write about Erap and his 100 days, I found myself in a meeting and seated beside Noel Pangilinan, a fellow UP graduate. His calling card showed he was then the editor of The FREEMAN. I decided to share and email him that Erap article. Gratefully, Noel immediately emailed back and asked if I can write a column for The FREEMAN!

That, to me, was clearly, divine providence, guidance, and timing!

That was in 1998. Now, 21 years and going, with God’s grace, I am still happily with The FREEMAN, sharing my perspective to all our readers every Thursday and Saturday!

With much gratitude and appreciation, I thank everyone in The FREEMAN - Noel, our Opinion editors, especially Debbie Duraliza, Queenie Sanchez Bronce, and our very patient and understanding Bryan Roy Padilla for taking care of our articles and ensuring that these get printed.

I continue to be honored to be among fellow columnists, diligent reporters, and creative photographers. Sincere thanks and appreciation also go to the “invisible” but hardworking crew who get the paper out to readers every day! And our gratitude to and continuing prayers for more healthy years for our chairman, Sir Jose Dodong Gullas!

Through the years, you, our readers have been with us all in The FREEMAN. All your feedback continue to inspire us to do better. Daghang, daghang salamat!

And always, our continuing thanks and praise to God, for gracing us all at The FREEMAN with 100 years and more!

cballescas@yahoo.com

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