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(Speech Delivered by Bohol Chronicle Editor in Chief Zoilo “Bingo” P. Dejaresco III during the 70th- Year Anniversary of the Bohol Chronicle at the Bohol Tropics May 16, 2024)

OUR ELDERS say that what is important in life- is not how one begins it- but how it ends. And being alive today at 70, allows one to review one’s life and plan a strategy that one can still leave behind.

Let me tell you a story.

I was born on January 8, 1953 (now you know my age).  Fifteen months later, my father founded the Bohol Chronicle on May 16, 1954. It was as if he had it planned- to create me- through my mother- and then for me to become- one day- the Editor of this newspaper. He even named me Zoilo III- after him- as Zoilo Dejaresco Jr.


Now at 71 years old today, I am about as old as the Chronicle.


It must have been destiny, my friends- because, editing a newspaper was far from my mind, No, not at all. In fact, I took up Economics and a master’s in business administration later- courses- as you can see- are not related to journalism or newspapering.

In fact, I pursued a promising career in Banking and Romance- I mean, rather, Banking and Finance in Metro Manila- a faraway place hundreds of miles away from my native land Bohol.

People call that predestination. They say it is never an accident that you are in a work that God has given you. Once assigned to you- yours is not to ask why- yours is just to give it your best shot- and then, as they say, God will take care of the rest.

So, to improve myself as I had no journalism training- I joined and became president of the Presidents Toastmasters Club in Manila, I joined the Toastmasters Club- an international club that hones and perfects one’s communication skills- because honestly, I thought, that time, I cannot always rely- on good looks, all the time.




So, for me, it was pure obedience- and learning from the only prayer that Jesus ever taught us “The Our Father”. Honoring my father, I followed my sickly father’s orders – despite my lack of training in journalism- and took over the paper sometime in 2002.

And so, indeed, my friends, obedience -always leads to good things.



It is said, that the average life expectancy of a Filipino (as of 2017) was age 70.  In that sense, then, Bohol is not young then. But instead of becoming arthritic and diabetic (like myself), The Chronicle continues to defy Father Time- and through the years- it has all been such a joy- growing old with you- our beloved readers, advertisers, friends, and our loyal staff.

I would like to give special mention to my indefatigable partner- my Associate Editor- Peter Dejaresco. (tells an anecdote about him and St.Peter).


Peter is truly a great multitasker and a true achiever. You cannot have a good editor without having a Very Good Associate Editor. My thank you.

And, of course, Peter’s son Donjay who edits the digital side of the newspaper- representing, hopefully,-the incoming third Dejaresco generation after us. A big thank you, as well, to our writers, transcribers, layout artists, photographers, printers, cartoonists, the administration, staff, newsboys and household help, and the retail stores that carry our newspaper.

Special citation goes to our stockholders my beloved siblings. All nine of us are here for a great reunion. We thank them for having one another’s back and for inspiring each other to go for excellence. My nine brothers and sisters- members of the board of directors of the Bohol Chronicle Radio Corporation- let’s give them a big hand.


So, now, all through the years- the Bohol Chronicle has fought against corruption, fought against incompetence, and the lack of compassion for our people. And ever since we came out with our radio advertisement back in 1954 about our “independent editorial policy”- to this day- we stand true to that pledge- without equivocation and fear of contradiction.

But to be boasting of one’s achievements is a practice of small men, I will not do that here. I would rather that the Philippine Press Institute of the Philippines  (the largest grouping of newspapers in the country) and the Rotary Club of Manila to speak for themselves about us- the Bohol Chronicle.

Muhammad Ali used to say “I am the greatest”, “I am the greatest”. Actually, he said that because he had doubts about his greatness. So, if I am asked whether we are the No.1 newspaper in Bohol today, I would prefer to say: “Please judge for yourself”

And if, today we are adjudged as the oldest community newspaper in the Philippines, we promise to continue to return that enduring trust with equal measure.

For indeed, public officials, presidents. bishops and generals come and go- but The Chronicle is here to stay.

In the past 70 years, we have had 12 governors -from Juan Pajo to Art Yap. We also already have had 9 past presidents from Ramon “The Guy” Magsaysay to the colorful Digong Duterte.

All of them have left Malacanang and the Capitol. But The Chronicle is still here.

And The Chronicle intends to serve the public even beyond the end of the terms of President Bongbong Marcos and Gov. Aris Aumentado and beyond- by God’s grace and providence.


Today, we all live in a whole, new world. And I say truth must always be defended at all costs since truth today is assaulted daily- by the “policy of lying” and because of the conversion of social media into a cauldron of “fake news” and because of the poisoned opinions of people whose only qualification is the ability to type or strike the keyboard.

In the Babel of Confusion- society needs a “bastion of truth” in mainstream media, who will lay it on the line, risking reputation and fortune, in order to tell nothing but the complete truth. Responsible media must never allow its veneer of neutrality and obsession for the truth to weaken at any time.


For us in The Bohol Chronicle, truth is absolute and indivisible. Create a half-truth and you embrace a half-a- lie- which is the same as accepting that women can- become slightly pregnant. That, ladies and gentlemen, is against the natural law.

That is the reason why the Chronicle runs after truth like a dog runs after a steak bone.

We do not succeed all the time – but it is not without good intentions and effort. We all do these, ladies and gentlemen, because, honestly, in this paper, we just all want to be able to sleep soundly with a clear conscience every night.

And yes, friends, we live in very dangerous times today as the Philippines continues to be one of the most dangerous places to live in work for journalists.

Perhaps, we are getting used to it- as we are “staying alive, staying alive , as John Travolta says – and kicking at 70.


But, we have not always been alive- as the Chronicle has been predicted three times already- to die.

The FIRST death was in 1954- when an elderly priest predicted- that after one year of operation- either the founder or the newspaper would die. Jun Dejaresco, the founder to die out of sheer frustration and desperation- or the newspaper due to lack of readership and advertisements- whichever came first.

The SECOND death came in 2002 when the publisher died and when the naysayers predicted and were even hoping that the second generation Dejaresco would not live up to his kind of discipline and not fit into the huge sandals that the founder had worn.

And the THIRD prediction of death said that the newspaper would be drowned by the sheer popularity of social media and disappear from the face of the earth.

Well, what actually happened?

As for the first death, Jun Dejaresco lived longer by four decades than the elderly priest who made the prediction- thank God ( I mean, we did not thank God that the priest died, but that the founder lived longer by 40 more years).

As to the second death. the second generation Dejaresco scaled up what used to be a 12-page newspaper into more than 60-pages regular Sunday paper and as to the third predicted death, well, we just played the rules of the new game- and the Chronicle now has a presence in social media and cyberspace as well.


And are there threats to the paper?

Ladies and gentlemen, many legends are born in the valleys of struggle.

And, truly, many threats have been commonplace to us: from challenges to a gun duel to threats of murdering us, of spraying the office with machinegun bullets and being thrown hand grenades, harming our loved ones.  Oh yes, we have seen and heard them all.

And since death is not just the absence of life, other threats came in the form of tax harassment, and stonewalling of advertisements as they did to the Inquirer and ABSCBN in the capital. And many cases have been filed in court- notably libel- all of them- we survived because they could not establish the one element of malice- which is essential for libel cases to prosper.

In all those libel cases- every lie, every alibi, every invention and every obfuscation of our detractors fell like a deck of cards- in court- and we won all our libel cases.

To this day, as we speak, we would rather eat cogon grass, or Bermuda grass if you wish- rather than be denied the freedom to write and speak freely.


But what is success? Success has been defined in many ways. One is saying that success is relative: the more success, the more relatives. That is alright.

But true success to me, ladies and gentlemen, is being confident enough not to seek and work just to get the praise of other men. Most men rush and race just to be in the limelight,

But greatness is a devious thing. One cannot enjoy the pleasures of greatness without suffering the pangs of its fangs,

For- as the movie hero Spider-Man said- with great powers, always come great responsibilities.

Journalists are, therefore, advised to resist the temptation to seek for greatness and mere popularity. And the best way to do that is to think of the newspaper job and to think of oneself -as a mere servant- a mere servant- of the public, whose interest every journalist must strive to protect and promote at all times.


Just what is freedom?

Freedom is desired only by those who acknowledge their slavery. For, indeed, why would one fight and yearn for freedom when one is already free?

Some shout they are free.” We are free, we are free”- but every day they are in chains,. Chained to their foolish pride and false confidence. It is tempting but it is wrong for journalists to be self-righteous in thinking that one’s singular opinion is already a declaration of truth -that everyone must accept.  That is intellectual arrogance.

That leads one ot what we call “emotional writing” which is writing with all feelings, without the facts. We must all avoid this.


What of writers?

Of course, there are good writers and there are bad writers.

Some writers waste great swats of paper- producing page after witless pages of useless journalism. All form with no substance. Much ado about nothing.

Thus, their newspapers become only good for wrapping fish and mangoes in the marketplace or swatting fly or a mosquito to death. That’s the fate of a mediocre newspaper.

My friends, it is not enough to know that we do not know enough.

We must also strive never to lower our own moral standards.  

Yet, becoming responsible journalists today is difficult because people would like to stay in the middle of every issue- not to take sides- because it is comfortable that way. Not realizing that not taking a position and preferring irresponsible tolerance in the face of injustice is to condone it. Silence, in the face of evil, is, as they say, acquiescence, not opposition to it.


Every day, of course, ladies and gentlemen, we still commit mistakes and failures in our grammar, syntax, logic, and opinion- but that is part of the territory. And after all, only God is perfect.

But you know what? Failing is a wonderful thing- because failing is a great way of learning and learning from others about our mistakes may be humbling – but it is also very educational.

Let us remember why God gave man two ears and only one mouth. Because it is always better to listen than to talk.


Let me end by saying that -tonight- the Chronicle pledges to continue to faithfully chronicle the lives and times of Boholanos. We will stretch our best to know the facts behind the news and puncture all illusions of progress when we see them.

We will resist all efforts to inflict the extravagance of wealth or power- by anyone- on anyone- whether rich or poor. We will strive to be the conscience of the community, to give voice to the voiceless and follow the adage to ” comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”.

And we will try to be the community’s Great Equalizer- with your help.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, this is our promise; a promise we made upon the graves of our beloved parents to take up the ever-growing challenges of this new but terrifying world until grace, grace- I mean God’s grace -leads us home to a place- where no one- grows old.

Thank you, God, the Father Almighty, for 70 years of the Bohol Chronicle. 

Please lead us to the next 100th year anniversary

God bless us all.

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com

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