National Press Club President Lydia Bueno (left) was joined by Mary Joy Bautista Maramag-Dumlao and her husband Mitch Dumlao, in pointing to the name of her grandfather Emilio Bautista of the old defunct Manila Times in the Marker of the National Press Club as one of its founders and the Senior Founding President of the Bulacan Press Club on Thursday, inside the NPC Grounds in Intramuros, Manila. Contributed photo

MANILA—The National Press Club (NPC) and the Central Luzon Media Association (CLMA) honor the role of the provincial correspondents in delivering to the general public the news worthy, most significant and timely news in their respective areas through a posthumous award bestowed to the dean of correspondents in the country here on Thursday in celebration of the 70th founding anniversary of the Bulacan Press Club (BPC).

NPC President Lydia Bueno who led a wreath-laying ceremony at the marker of the NPC at its grounds Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, Manila hands the Posthumous Award to Mary Joy Bautista Maramag-Dumlao and Carmela Bautista Reyes-Estrope, both granddaughters of “Emilio De Leon Bautista,” a native of Bulakan town, one of the founders of the NPC in 1952 and who was the Senior Founding President of the BPC in 1953. Bautista’s name was inscribed in the said NPC marker together with the names of the other founding members.

NPC President Lydia Bueno. Contributed photo

Bautista, a post American post Japanese war journalist who was born in Barangay Sta. Ana in Bulakan town on February 25, 1900 and died on October 16, 1965 writes for the old defunct Manila Times.  

“For his lifelong commitment to the advancement of journalism in the Philippines and help turn it into a noble profession that it is now today. In particular, the Club pays tribute to Emilio De Leon Bautista as among its original founding members when it was established in 1952 and the leading role that he played in the establishment of the Bulacan Press Club the following year 1953,” Bueno states in the recognition.

“The Club also notes that during his lifetime as a provincial correspondent for the Manila Times, Emilio De Leon Bautista gave importance on the crucial role the provincial correspondents play in the delivery of information to the general public,” the award further said.

NPC Secretary and former President Paul Gutierrez said Bautista’s dignified works and role as the Dean of Provincial Correspondents in the country must be given importance to stop the continued discrimination being experienced until today by journalists in the provinces.

He said while it is now the digital age where information and news can be obtained and delivered through the internet, still, provincial correspondents are besieged with different discriminations

“Karanasan ko po iyan. You should admire your grandfather because he gave dignity and respect to the role of the provincial correspondents in providing news. He was a multi-talented and awarded journalist in his time,” he said.

Gutierrez also honoured Bautista for his sacrifices as the epitome of the exemplary works and dedication of provincial journalists and for being the pioneer of correspondents in the country who covers as far as the Ilocos Region and the whole of Central Luzon during his time.  

“Can you imagine that time walang North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), old provincial road lang ang dinadaanan, walang skyway, Bangka at train lang, walang internet, walang fax machine, phone patch lang sa editor ang pagbato ng istorya, pero hanggang Ilocos Region nagco-cover si G. Bautista”.

His sacrifices should not only inspire budding journalists in the provinces but even the rest of the media members in the whole country.

“He was given the title Dean of Provincial Correspondents by the National Press Club and his name was inscribed in the marker in front of NPC as one of the pillars of Philippine Journalism representing the Provincial Correspondents,” recalls Bautista’s grandson who grew up with him, Atty. Antonio Bautista Fidelino.

“Lolo Emilio taught at Sta Maria Elementary School. He worked as Shipping Editor at the Manila Times before the war and before that newspaper closed on account of the war. When Manila Times reopened, he was among the first to come back, and became Provincial Correspondent, the first and only, covering the area as far as the Ilocos region, and the entire Central Luzon. He received several awards recognizing his achievements as such provincial correspondent like those coming from the Central Luzon Press Club, there was no Bulacan Press Clb yet at that time. Among his fellow newsmen in the province I have been introduced to were Ben Gamos of Manila Chronicle and Jose Padilla of Philippine News Agency. Then he concentrated on news from Bulacan until his death,” Fidelino added.

Former NPC President Paul Gutierrez. Contributed photo

“Upon his death, during his wake at the National Press Club, most of the national dailies published and extolled his saga as a newspapeman, notably in the columns of Ka Doroy Valencia, Amado V. Hernandez, Joe Quirino who even wrote a very detailed and extensive biography of lolo in a magazine he was connected with,” added his lawyer grandson who had served as editor of his school paper and learned how to become a good writer as an officer of the law.  

Dumlao on behalf of the whole Bautista family expressed the sincerest appreciation and gratitude for still remembering their old folk and his works and contribution to Philippine journalism particularly as the Dean of Provincial Correspondents.

CLMA President and former BPC President Carmela Reyes-Estrope, granddaughter of Emilio Bautista. Contributed photo

“In behalf of the whole Bautista family, we are forever grateful and appreciative of this recognition. Our grandfather has been resting in peace for quite a long period of time now. Yet with this award, we resurrected his contribution to the country, for his desire for freedom of expression, for mutual respect for both the newspaper man and the readers and for the perpetual search for peace and harmony in a country besieged with so many threats, internal and external. We hold on to the hope of the rebirth of our family’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law. This commitment is translated to upholding press freedom amidst fake news and misinformation. We thank the National Press Club and the Central Luzon Media Association for the honor you bestow on our grandfather Emilio Bautista,” she said in her response speech.

Estrope, the current president of CLMA and former BPC President also thanked the NPC for the recognition to his grandfather. “The picture of the old man hangs in the wall of our office, and just like the other presidents, we all seem to have forgotten their contributions in press freedom not only in the provinces but in the whole country as well,” she said.