Setting the agenda for robust public discussions

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THE utmost reward of columnists is to set ablaze thoughts, discussions, and actions between the public and the country’s policymakers. This exchange of ideas empowers people to engage in the nation’s progress, a characteristic of an active generation. Understanding the sides of an issue and writing authoritatively about it teach the populace to fearlessly confront inconsistencies and to arm themselves with facts and knowledge. These tasks are borne by the men and women behind the Opinion and Editorial (OpEd) section of The Manila Times_the Philippines’ oldest existing newspaper.

Considered by many as the newspaper’s most popular section, The Times’ OpEd contains thorough analyses of top stories and events, informative columns written by opinion writers who have functioned effectively in their respective professions, and letters and comments sent by readers.

The Times’ balanced and insightful columns and its powerfully crafted editorials have contributed to readers’ ability to respond to societal issues. Thus, The Manila Times OpEd section is still recognized as the country’s finest. Its popularity also continues to grow as it welcomes and gives space to new intelligent heads.

Opinion on Page One
RIGOBERTO TIGLAO
Former Ambassador Rigoberto “Bobi” Tiglao is a columnist at The Manila Times whose works are published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He has worked for the Philippine government and various publications and maintained his long stint in business and political commentary. A graduate of Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines (UP), Tiglao has written and published several books on Philippine politics and economy. He is also among the founders of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. These give credibility to his incisive dissection of various issues and personalities.


Published last September 6, Tiglao’s recent piece entitled “Thank God for Trillanes” has earned thousands of views and comments on social media.

FRANCISCO “KIT” TATAD
As a journalist and politician, Francisco “Kit” Tatad functioned as public information minister under the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos. As he finished business economics at the University of Asia and the Pacific, Tatad worked for various news agencies in the country and abroad. He also toured the International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal Asia, the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Washington Quarterly, Business Day and the Philippine Daily Globe as a journalist and columnist.

Tatad also authored the books: The Prospects of the Filipino, The Philippines in 1986, Guarding the Public Trust, A Nation on Fire: The Unmaking of Joseph Ejercito Estrada and the Remaking of Democracy in the Philippines and The Forbidden Life of Amargo Raz. His exercise of public influence opinion through The Times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mirrors his extensive experience in the news industry.

Ricardo Saludo
The works Ricardo Saludo, former chairman of the Philippine Civil Service Commission, appear at The Times’ OpEd section every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. From 1989 to 1995, he worked as a senior business editor of Asia Week and later became a commentator of Asia Affairs for CNN and CNBC news networks for four years.

In 2001, he left the private sector to join the Arroyo administration. He served as head of the presidential management and deputy spokesperson to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and helped increase the monthly compensation of government officials and employees.

Today, Saludo is the managing director and co-founder of the management and media consultancy firm Center for Strategy, Enterprise and Intelligence. He is also a lecturer at UP’s National College of Public Administration and Governance.

Antonio Contreras
A radio host and political science professor at De La Salle University, AntoniO shares them by writing for The Times very Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Specializing in politics, governance, culture studies, and political theory, Contreras earned a master’s degree in forestry from UP Los Baños and a doctorate degree in political science from the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Through social media, Contreras has sparked countless debates online and proved his commitment to his purpose as an educator.

Yen Makabenta
As he builds significant arguments, Yen Makabenta fills the spaces of The Times’ OpEd section on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with tough questioning. His recent column about the Commission on Human Rights, an office currently under controversy, has ignited discussions among readers and steered them to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

Marlen Ronquillo
With the strategically curated information he gives to readers, Marlen Ronquillo’s presence in The Manila Times every Sunday and Wednesday displays a niche he is knowledgeable about. Through his column, Ronquillo proves he has a cultural sensitivity that helps him deal with a diverse group of readers.

Rene Saguisag
Rene Saguisag’s works at The Manila Times are published every Friday. A human rights lawyer from 1972 to 1986, he was first elected to the Senate of the Philippines in 1987. He remained there until 1992 and also served as chairman of the committee on ethics and privileges. After his departure from the Senate, Saguisag became one of the defense lawyers in the corruption trial of former President Joseph Estrada.

Susan Ople
Susan Ople served as chief of staff under the office of her father, Blas Ople, a journalist and high-ranking politician. She later worked under the Department of Foreign Affairs and later ran as a senator in the 2010 Philippine Elections.

Today, Ople is the current president of the Blas Ople Policy Center, a non-government organization which assists overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from all over the world. She also fights for the freedom of OFWs imprisoned in the Middle East and heads a popular radio show for them.

Her written works, which reach the public through The Times’ OpEd every Monday, includes her campaign for the welfare of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community. A former labor undersecretary, Ople’s advocacies on labor range from the abolishment of contractualization to the increase of employment opportunities especially for the youth.

A broad spectrum of conveyors
The Manila Times columnists work in a variety of settings. Its other exceptional and most-read columnists are lawyer Brigido “Dodo” Dulay, Ernesto “Boy” Herrera, former Commission on Elections chairman Gus Lagman, and Efren Danao.

Every Sunday, the section contains the works of Irish missionary priest Shay Cullen, acclaimed writer Juan Gatbonton, Rolly Reyes,Mauro GiaSamonte, and The Manila Times Publisher Rene Bas in the ‘Sunday Read.’

The Monday OpEd is occupied by immigrant advocate Crispin Aranda, global economic policy analyst Dan Steinbock, veteran reporter and The Manila Times College Training Coordinator TitaValderama, and Marit Stinus-Cabugon.

Meanwhile, the Tuesday team includes cultural interactions expert Rachel A.G. Reyes, political strategist Malou Tiquia, University of Washington Professor Emeritus Frank Ching, and international relations scholar Sass Roganda Sasot.

The Wednesday OpEd is also completed by the works of academician Ei Sun Oh, joined by Lito Aviera, Nelson Celis, Abet Dela Cruz in ‘Let’s Face It!’

Every Thursday, the section conveys the message of Palafox Associates founder Felino Palafox, Rolly Reyes, and the representatives from Centrist Democracy Political Institute.

Also, institutional management expert Teresita Tanhueco Tumapon, the Institute for Solidarity in Asia, and Maribel Ongpin fill up the space for the Friday OpEd, while every Saturday, readers can expect the works of lawyer Al Vitangcol, Mauro Gia Samonte, and the Philippine Ambassadors Foundation Inc.

The Times opinion writers not only present themselves as keepers of information that feed the public. They also heighten public awareness by sharing their judgments on various issues. Bearing a broad spectrum of opinions writers as it promotes democracy within its own sphere, reading The Manila Times’ OpEd section undoubtedly gives readers the advantage of catching up with the society’s most significant concerns.

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