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12 years, still rising

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A DOZEN years. But it did not, as the idiom deemed, come by anywhere near cheap.

Spinning off the four-page centerfold of an eponymous Metro Manila daily tabloid, Punto! Central Luzon came into its own in the latter part of 2007 – dismissed off-hand as just another upstart local paper of the volume one- only-one kind.

It came as a shock to the Capampangan community when Punto! immediately took on the then-highly popular but fledgling administration of the reverend Gov. Eddie T. Panlilio, not as this paper’s bete noire as it came to be generally believed, but purely in pursuit of media’s counterbalancing role in democratic society, aye, of living up to the journalistic tradition of the press’ adversarial stand vis-à-vis government.

Forgetting not, in any instance, fairness and accuracy in reporting though. Thus, Panlilio declared our Man of the Year, the first in what has come to be a milestone event as much for Punto! as for the community it serves.

Indeed – Jose Victor Luciano, president- CEO of Clark International Airport Corp. Oscar S. Rodriguez, mayor of the City of San Fernando. Lilia G. Pineda, governor of Pampanga. Edgardo D. Pamintuan, mayor of Angeles City. Cebu Pacific and SM malls. Arthur P. Tugade, president- CEO of Clark Development Corp. Dennis Anthony Uy, president-CEO of Converge. Daesik Han, president-CEO of Widus Hotel and Casino. Irineo Alvaro, president-CEO of BBI International. Alexander S. Cauguiran, president-CEO of Clark International Airport Corp. Vince Dizon, president-CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority – Punto!’s choices of the top newsmaker of every year make an extraordinary league of gentlemen, lady, and corporate entities. To our reading public’s acceptance, if not acclaim.

Not that our MOTY accolade though is in any way a lifetime immunity from any adverse story or criticism rising out of our pages to confront any of the awardees. All harking to the call of accountability, to the principle of transparency, to those in government most specially. Again, to our reading public’s acceptance, if not delight.

Giving credit where it is due on one hand. Finding fault wherever it lay, on the other. It can never be any fairer than this.

The right of those at the receiving end to cry libel, we highly respect. Hence the three cases – so far – we have faced and triumphed over. One yet to start hearing at the Guagua RTC.

Stung by what they felt was unfair treatment, a number did not go the “legal” way. One barged into the office threatening everyone there with mayhem – he did not make good his threat. Another, a magistrate of the law at that, spewing all ravings and rantings against the paper at our poor newsboy who just happened to be delivering Punto! copies at the hall of justice. Yet others, by texted threats.

It’s all par for the course, no offense taken.

No fear. No favor. All fair. All free.

So how far has Punto! gone?

Volume 1 long passed. And defying all expectations, more, much more than one. As a matter of fact, into Volume 13 now. And print branching out online. By right, a time for celebration. But moreso, of reaffirmation to that Punto! stands for: Pananaw ng Malayang Pilipino.

To you, we owe it all.

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