Even a libel suit can’t stop an aspiring journalist from writing.
Monique Ann Tiongco, 22, an accountancy student from the University of the East (UE) in Manila, proved that a strong passion for writing was all she needed to chase her dream of becoming a renowned journalist in the Philippines.
Tiongco, a sports writer at UE, was forced to drop her studies after she was suspended over a lampoon she wrote. She was charged with libel by the school administration and was eventually dismissed last June.
While under suspension, she worked with a publishing firm. In her one-year stint there, she felt that her desire to become a writer was greater than being an accountant.
Eventually, she enrolled in the on-the-job training (OJT) program of The Manila Times College (TMTC).
On March 28, Tiongco finished the OJT program.
She was one of the 24 graduates from the six universities and colleges whose students enrolled in the program. Aside from a certificate, she was awarded a pin by the college.
The six universities and colleges were Philippine Christian University with 11 students; National University (NU) with nine students; and UE, Columban College-Olongapo City, San Sebastian College and Emilio Aguinaldo College with one student each.
The OJT program of The Manila Times College offers a unique combination of school work and actual coverage of news beats. This was intended to provide students an opportunity to gain real-life work experience and to prepare them for a better career in journalism.
The program is also an internship program designed to nurture writing skills of aspiring journalists and to inculcate in them the values of self-discipline, improve their self-confidence and hone their journalistic skills through various exercises, both written and spoken.
Dante F.M. Ang 2nd, President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Editor of The Manila Times, said the OJT program is the modest contribution that the company could give to students to develop them into good journalists.
“I hope this is the beginning of your interest in and passion for journalism. We look forward to your success. I look forward to reading your names as bylines in newspapers, perhaps in The Manila Times,” he said during the graduation ceremony.
The short ceremony was also attended by Rene Q. Bas, Dean of the TMTC; Dr. Isagani Cruz, President of the TMTC; Tita Valderama, training coordinator of the TMTC; and Manny Malasmas, professor at the College of Education Arts and Sciences of NU.
Malasmas awarded Ang a certificate of appreciation for accepting the NU students to the OJT program.
An agreement between NU and TMTC allows NU students with an AB English diploma to take up journalism at The Manila Times College.
According to Malasmas, the TMTC was the top choice of the NU administration since the college provides a quality course for journalism students.