• Rounding up ‘Opinion’ makers

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    THE Manila Times, as described by Executive Editor and CEO Dante Ang 2nd, is an “opinionated” newspaper that offers articles written by experts who can explain issues and provide background information on events and trends.

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    “We have worked hard and spared no expense in assembling our team of opinion writers. Modesty aside, I believe that we have the best opinion writers today. And so our strength is in putting the news into context,” he said in a Q&A on Finding Brand Relevance on September 16, 2014.

    “We cater not only to those who want to follow what’s happening, but more so to those who want to know why things are happening. It’s hard to put that in one word, but if there is one, perhaps “opinionated” comes close,” he added.

    The Opinion Section of The Times is a line up of writers who provide in-depth interpretation of current events covering politics, economics, film, media and journalism trends, religion, the judiciary, governance, the environment, architecture, and heritage.

    For the 117th anniversary of The Times, we turn the tables around as we try to get little known facts about some of our column writers.

    Ambassador Amado Tolentino, one of the former ambassadors who write the Ambassador’s Corner column, one of the country’s pioneers in the practice of environmental law and one of the youngest delegates to the Constitutional Convention, says law was not his intended profession

    “I got into Pre-Law because it has the least Math or no Math among the courses ‘on sale’ during freshmen registration day at UP. (But) the profession got me elected, at age 28, to the 1971 Philippine Constitutional Convention and then I discovered the ‘wonderful world of environmental law’ as a career path,” he said.

    “It enabled me to do everything I wanted to do professionally. In fact, I did not feel that I was actually working. My passion is my environmental law profession,” said Tolentino.

    He added that with his work as an environmental law consultant of the United Nations Environment Program, he was exposed to different cultures.

    “In particular, I got interested in local weaves as an art form and one such hang on my office wall. It is from Indonesia and it just mesmerizes me. There is not a day when I don’t find something new in it,” said Tolentino.

    “Zilch” column writer, Ma. Lourdes “Malou” Tiquia, runs a political campaigns management firm, the Publicus Asia, Inc.

    She denies being a “hard-hitting” columnist, she claims to merely be writing down her views. Or, in her case, she types them on her iPad.

    “That’s just me. But if in the course of speaking my mind, I end up hitting somebody and hit him hard, well I’m sorry. Love me. Hate me. I don’t let them define me,” she says.

    “People associate me with politics and politics alone,” she added.

    Tiquia opines that this may be because of her company and academic background on Political Science and Public Administration.

    “Or maybe because I’m just so passionate about politics. Well, it’s true. I get my adrenalin rush just talking about politics,” she said, adding that she gets the same “snickers and side remarks” though if she discusses other topics like energy, gadgets and transportation.

    Katrina Stuart Santiago, of “Radikalchick” fame, literally draws inspiration from home.

    “Local TV is my white noise while writing. I escape to Tiaong as often as I can. My Tatay sings in a band and is the kindest soul I know. My mother is the writer and thinker I want to be when I grow up,” she said.

    She says there is no need to “coax” young people to read about politics, economics, governance, among other so-called “heavy” topics.

    “I think they do read, but we are judging what they are reading to be ‘light’ stuff. Getting these readers to get into subject matter that is more relevant or important to nation—that is the burden that falls on the writers who want to get the younger ones into issues that are bigger than themselves,” she said.

    “In that sense, if our goal is to get readers to engage with these issues, then we must be looking at the kind of language that we use, the kind of writing that we do, and where we make this information available,” she added.

    Ambassador Tolentino suggests that young people watch the movie, Heneral Luna so that “they will better understand the prevailing and increasing negative discourse in Philippine politics and learn to be more understanding of one another. Otherwise, politics will be a matter of life and death (if it is not one yet!) or continue as such.”

    He adds that the movie experience might enable them to “build confidence and speak out and reach their true potentials while looking for opportunities to make a difference.”

    Tiquia—who cares for an adorable Beagle—offers a more techie approach, that is, download the appropriate app or application.

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