Remarks by Dr. Dante A. Ang, Chairman Emeritus of The Manila Times, delivered on the occasion of its 118th anniversary celebration at Passion Restaurant in Resorts World Manila on October 11, 2016, and 15 years since he acquired the newspaper.
LIKE well-meaning friends, I too, in my moments of uncertainty, had asked myself, “Why did I buy The Manila Times on October 11, 2001?” Yes, indeed, why? It had absolutely no physical assets. No printing press, and had only a few computers. Its circulation was almost non-existent. It was also saddled with millions of payables to its suppliers – from paper to ink to plate suppliers and what-have-you. Worse, its employees were not paid their salaries and wages for months on end.
I should have suspended or closed The Manila Times to avoid paying its obligations to suppliers and employees. But I did not. Slowly and painstakingly, I paid both the suppliers and the employees for what the former owners of The Manila Times owed them.
The good news is that: Nabayaran na po natin ang lahat ng utang ng dating Manila Times. Pinagtiyagaan natin na hulugan ang pagkakautang ng Manila Times sa kanilang mga suppliers at mga empleyado. I thank our suppliers for their patience, understanding and continuing trust in us.
The bad news, however, is that: Tayo naman ngayon ang may utang sa ating mga sariling suppliers. But I am pleased to say that our suppliers have kept faith with us. Salamat po sa inyong tiwala.
I bought The Manila Times largely on emotion and vision. I wanted my family to be part of history. We all know that has a rich tradition and history – from President Manuel Quezon, to Senator Ninoy Aquino, to Don Chino Roces. They were the movers and shapers of our nation’s history. In my own small way, I dreamed of continuing the good fight, the fight for truth and justice that our founders fought for.
This I commit: I will not fail you. I shall do everything I can to live up to the expectations of our readers and advertisers. I shall travel the same road less traveled before us by the fallen honorable owners and publishers of The Manila Times. I shall not waver. I shall adhere to the highest and exacting standards they had set forth in publishing the news – accurate, fair, objective, balanced – though the heavens may fall.
The newspaper business is perhaps one of the most difficult undertakings not only in the Philippines but elsewhere in the world. We stand or fall on our own credibility. Without credibility, you lose the people’s trust and without it, you might as well close shop. The newspaper is a business of “trust.” Without “trust” it loses its raison d’être.
As we celebrate our 118th anniversary, I am pleased to say that The Manila Times of today is very much different from the time we bought it in 2001. And as a testament to its relevance in the shaping of public opinion, The Manila Times was recently crowned the Newspaper of the Year by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
And so today, we stake our claim, The Manila Times has achieved the distinction as the paper with the “Best Opinion Section.” The Manila Times is home to some of the best minds in the political and business constellation like Senator Francisco Tatad, Ambassador Bobi Tiglao, Johnny Gatbonton, Ric Saludo, Marlen Ronquillo, Rene Saguisag, Ambassador Jose Romero, Ambassador Jaime Bautista, Atty. Dodo Dulay, Mauro Gia Samonte, Ambassador Amado Tolentino, Efren Danao, Toots Ople, Malou Tiquia, Architect Felino Palafox Jr., Gus Lagman , Nelson Celis, Lito Averia, Maribel Ongpin, Tita Valderama, Katrina Santiago-Stuart, Kim Lokin-Bernardo and a host of other political heavyweights, including the newest additions to our roster, the De La Salle University political science professor Antonio Contreras, as well as Al Vitangcol and Rolly Reyes.
In business, we have Emi Perez of “Due Diligencer,” the Deloitte firm for the column “Deloitte on the Dot,” Rey Elbo of “Beyond Buzzwords,” Ben Kritz of “Rough Trade,” Moje Ramos-Aquino, Punongbayan & Araullo Grant Thornton of “From Where We Sit,” Mike Wooton of “Views from a Brit,” and the authors of “Managing for Society,” “MoneyMax,” “The C-Suite Corner” by Finex, “Needles in a Haystack” by PWC and “Money Talks” by the Registered Financial Planners. Lastly, but not the least, Atty. Brenda Pimentel, who writes about maritime concerns, Dr. Teresita Tumapon, and Joselyn Laurel on education.
But we are not yet done. There still remain mountains of challenges that lay ahead of us. And they are daunting. I am, however, confident that we will prevail. Commitment, dedication, hard work, perseverance, focus and creativity are some of the tools we will need to achieve our final goal of becoming our country’s most respected newspaper.
I’d like to thank my family for their support and contribution to the Manila Times – Klink, Michael, Anna Marie A. Thompson, Monica and Joanna, as well as my sister, Nenita.
Once more I thank our distinguished opinion writers, readers, advertisers, our suppliers, our carriers, our sales and advertising, our circulation people, our hardworking reporters and editors, our managers and employees for their fidelity, dedication and commitment to The Manila Times and for making it what it is today: A Must Read!
I thank you all for keeping your faith with us.
Mabuhay tayong lahat!