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Passing of an Ilonggo icon

 

By JOHNNY DAYANG

 

A PERSON, like anybody else, shall come to pass. But his legacy defines his contribution to the commu­nity. Danny Fajardo, founder of the iconic Iloilo-based Panay News, honored as the regional publication of the Publishers As-sociation of the Philippines Inc. (PAPI), just did that.

The passing of Danny on Sept. 9, 2018 comes at a most crucial time in our contemporary history, at a period when many journalists have shown temerity to pursue their mission amidst the dangers that threaten their lives and the curtailment of their freedom and profession.

In his lifetime, Danny, who was also a broadcaster, walked with the pillars of press freedom. In fact, he was with me in travels that brought us to Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, China, USA, Australia, and New Zealand, to name just a few countries.

Founded in 1981, his Panay News, which he edited for decades, became the harshest critic of government in Iloilo, and his popular Iloilo radio-cable TV public affairs program, Reklamo Publiko, exposed anybody without fear or favor. Behind this courage was an amiable and humanitarian.

But Danny was more than just an ordinary journalist. He headed the Iloilo Press Club, the country’s oldest, for years and was once executive vice president of PAPI.

Beyond journalism, he also served as executive director of the National Book Development Board (NBDB); commissioner of the Commission on Filipino Language; and director, Media Division, of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

An alumnus of Silliman University, Dumaguete City, he was a Philippine media delegate to the United Nations’ 50th anniversary. He also took a special course on Para Legal Studies at the Manila Times School of Journalism.

Outside the bounds of writing and broadcasting, he was also involved in politics as consultant, public relations man, and strategic planner. He was a man of the world despite the complicated interplay of roles he loved to play, especially with colleagues in profession.

He lived his life the way Austrian-born American journalist and diplo-mat Henry Anatole Grunwald said it: “Journalism can never be silent: That is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.”

Ironically, Danny, as he was fondly called, expired on the day the town of Mina, Iloilo, honored him as one of its outstanding sons in the field of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Goodbye, my dear colleague Danny!

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