SIX YEARS AND GOING

By Ray L. Junia, Publisher

OpinYon is not an ordinary newspaper that you get to grab in your neighborhood newsstands or delivered to your doorsteps every morning. 

Rather it takes a stand on issues. It is not obligated to be objective even as it tries to be balanced. That is the character of this paper. 

 

BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT

What is OpinYon’s biggest achievement in the past six years? 

That OpinYon is still in circulation, still on the shelves of National Bookstores, Power Books and Fully Booked, certainly makes us proud and we would rank as our biggest achievement as a news magazine. 

 

DEATH PRESCRIPTION

It is a novelty in the publishing business. Its editorial policies and directions are sure death prescriptions for a regular publication. 

It is unusual from the business side of publishing, preferring to take the side of consumers in a conflict with the interests of big businesses and even the government and numerous government officials.

Big business gets good grip of media with huge advertising budget in its arsenal. Their advertising budgets give them control of mainstream media. 

Advertising money is the lifeblood of publishing. That OpinYon prefers to take the side of consumers in a fight against abusive big business is like a death wish.  

In its infancy, when OpinYon was exposing sins of big business, many were betting, OpinYon will not survive six months. Now, OpinYon is entering its 7th year.

 

WE CLAIM VICTORY

We claim victory even when parties plotted to destroy the paper, if not the people behind OpinYon. In some weeks OpinYon got delayed to reach the streets, some parties were fast to announce, OpinYon had closed down. 

Even our regular columnists had to call office if indeed the announcement came from us.

Worse, three years ago, our offices in Laguna got ransacked and lost were some computers and research files on some big business deals in government. 

We claim victory as we survived many attempts to cripple us, even slander us. We claim victory for the fire in pursuit of our advocacy continues to burn and torment those who torment consumers. 

 

WIDENING REACH

It is widening its reach each passing week without having to compromise its advocacy to protect consumers’ interests, the environment, and address poverty concerns. 

We reach about 200,000 a week in our social media network even as we build our fan page, now reaching over 400,000.

Subscription base of our paper edition is growing as groups and individuals sign up for regular subscription even as we prepare for the launch of our digital edition towards the end of this year.

We have already doubled the number of copies available in regular outlets, the National Bookstores and others.  

Perseverance in the last six years is paying off in our increasing sales and sponsorships.

 

LAUNCHED DUTERTE’S CANDIDACY

Aside from improving the reach of the paper, what would we consider another major achievement of OpinYon? 

It is having helped place in office a President who will become a solution to poverty, business abuses, and corruption. 

In the early 2014, when everybody was rooting for Vice President Jejomar Binay to win Malacañang, OpinYon floated the idea of then Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte running for President of the country. 

“The country needs a solution man, who can put order in our ways and stop if not slow down corruption in this country,” I told my editors. 

The first story of OpinYon on Duterte came out on February 17, 2014, the headline title was “The Solution”.

The first few paragraphs in that story: 

 

THE scenario is ripe for the election of a President like Rodrigo Duterte. The Philippines is almost a failed state and many indicators support this perception. Laws are not obeyed, and worse, even used to fleece money from citizens.

President Benigno S. Aquino III does not respect the Constitution and openly violates the laws of the land.

Lately, this has become obvious in the public concern over the legitimacy of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that is now a question before the Supreme Court.

Mocking the law has become normal in the Philippines, starting in the halls of Congress to the streets in the barangays.

The claimed 7.1 percent economic growth has only succeeded to rub salt to the wounds of poverty suffered by almost eighty percent of the population.

This economic growth that benefited only the very rich of the country has widened the gap between the rich and poor, with about four percent of the population controlling 90 percent of the national wealth.

That widespread poverty is causing disorder in our streets cannot be overemphasized in the rapid rise of petty crimes and robbery that even media offices get ransacked.

Even when the police say it has control in the peace and order, the assassinations and theft leading to the death of victims make citizens unbelieving this government.

 

CONVERSATION WITH DIGONG

That issue went viral in social media. Then I got an invitation from the Office of the Mayor of Davao for dinner in his city when I was there for a business visit.

“Mr. Junia, you and Atty. Sal Panelo have just given me a big problem. Now people are egging me to run for President,” he said opening up our conversation, adding that “I would rather just be mayor of Davao.”

“Sir, this country needs a leader better than Binay. You inspire hope given what you have done to Davao City,” I answered back, adding “The presidency is a destiny.” 

He proceeded to tell me his story on creating Davao where it is now. 

“The Philippines is too big for me. I am successful because Davao City in size is manageable. The whole country is too big. I have no more desire more than what I have achieved for Davao,” he added.

That first dinner ended with my resolve to push the election of this person. I organized the first effort, with selected labor groups (with Nick Elman, Dave Diwa, Tony Lacaba, and others) in national media to urge him to run for President.

Even if OpinYon has helped elect a President who elicits hope and confidence on our future, it is committed not to abandon its mission to tell the other side of the story, that side that is usually hidden from the people, the truth that hurts business interests and corrupt government official.

Lately OpinYon has taken issue with Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) hiring of top executives, suspected assets planted by the Ayala Group at the DOTr, the agency that oversees almost eighty  percent of PPP projects.

This expose on the grip of Ayala Group over DOTrhas reached inquiry level in Congress, solons crossing party lines expressed doubt on the loyalty of Sec. Tugade and some of his trusted aides.  

 

NEW PLATFORMS

In the next few weeks, OpinYon will launch its digital edition. 

Also, it is making arrangements with other media outfits for partnership on a new platform, OpinYon TV.

Our latest milestone is the launch, two months ago of OpinYon Mindanao, headed but our local chief in Davao City, Roger Bantiles. 

OpinYon Mindanao is a business and travel guide to those visiting Mindanao. It departs from the traditional hardline taken by OpinYon on eco-political issues. 

It has gathered heads of advocacy groups dedicated to protecting and improving environment, agriculture and local economy.

 

HERE TO STAY

Indeed, the past years were full of challenges but we have dedicated ourselves to be of service to the people especially to our consumers.

In years to come, we see ourselves getting bigger and earning more support and respect from the public as such we will be here to continue to champion public interest. 

 

 

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