Rep. Raul Del Mar, Father of Cebu press freedom of the new millennium

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - November 30, 2020 - 12:00am

Raul Chiong Veloso del Mar was born on Mach 20, 1941 was divinely guided to be Cebu’s protector of its press freedom and its right to life. He finished his Bachelor of Laws at the Ateneo de Manila and joined the Bar on March 7, 1964. He was elected in 1987 as the pioneer congressman of the Cebu City North District, created by the 1987 Constitution.

Among the many pro-Cebu legislations he authored are the Cebu Ports Authority and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority, he passionately advocated for the Filipinos right to life, for decades he stood against any forms of anti-life bills such as the Reproductive Health Law and the Death Penalty Law. He was a pro-life warrior until the end, God’s warrior in Congress.

He is the “Father of Cebu Press Freedom of the New Millennium”, as he authored in the House of Representatives the bill expanding the Press Freedom Law (Republic Act 53) more known after its author, Cebuano Senator Don Vicente Yap Sotto. The bill became into law, with the Senate version authored by the namesake and grandson of Don Vicente Sotto, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III. The expanded law is docketed as Republic Act 114581 which was signed into law by the president on August 30, 2019.

Another legacy that he bequeathed to the Cebuanos is Republic Act 11122 signed into law on October 30, 2018, the law is entitled: AN ACT DECLARING SEPTEMBER 21 OF EVERY YEAR A SPECIAL WORKING HOLIDAY IN THE CITY OF CEBU AND THE ENTIRE PROVINCE OF CEBU, INCLUDING ITS HIGHLY URBANIZED AND COMPONENT CITIES, TO BE KNOWN AS “CEBU PRESS FREEDOM DAY.

May the Cebuanos, especially the members of the press, also call the Cebu Press Freedom Day as Raul del Mar Day for us to remember that there was one Cebuano who stood up for press freedom valiantly but with humility and grace.

Raul was the son of Jose Ma. del Mar and Rosario Ricablanca Chiong Veloso. He married Milanie Borromeo. His father was an outstanding figure in the history of Cebu’s journalism and letters. Jose del Mar was the publisher of Cebu’s last Spanish newspaper, La Prensa. The street in IT Park was named after him on March 18, 2005.

Raul may have died on November 16, 2020 but his love for service to the Cebuanos continues to live through his children, Rachel “Cutie” (who once served as Representative of the District), Dr. Raoul (who likewise served the district), and Bunny. May his children continue to champion his divine battles: press freedom and pro-life.

PRESS FREEDOM RAUL DEL MAR
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