Inquirer employees urged to continue dreaming, keep the fire burning
Inquirer president and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez has rallied employees of the country’s leading newspaper to continue living by its tenets of responsible and truthful journalism amid the looming change in ownership.
Her voice cracking at times, Romualdez delivered an emotional speech on Saturday night at the company’s 32nd anniversary party held at Resorts World Manila in Pasay City.
“I remember walking with many of you from the office to Ayala and we were met by tens of thousands of supporters of press freedom,” Romualdez said, recalling the protests triggered by the ad boycott initiated against the Inquirer by then President Joseph Estrada.
“To the advertisers that have never left us, let’s allow their support and love to lift us high. Let’s all feel 32 feet tall that we are the Inquirer!” she told the audience.
Romualdez, who has been at the helm of the INQUIRER for over two decades, paid tribute to the employees’ contributions in turning the once Marcos-era “mosquito newspaper” into one of the most successful and respected media companies not only in the Philippines, but in the Asian region.
“To all Inquirers past and present, you have kept us strong. We could not have done this without your continued trust and support. I’m sorry if some of you felt like we have let go. But we have not,” Romualdez said, wiping away tears.
“The bond we have built is so strong nothing will take this away from us. Please continue to dream,” she added. “Dream of a better Philippines and keep the role of Inquirer firmly behind that. Keep the fire burning!”
In July, INQUIRER board chair Marixi Rufino-Prieto announced that the Prieto family had decided to give up its ownership of the Inquirer Group of Companies and sell it to business tycoon Ramon S. Ang.
Instead of being slowed down by uncertainties, Inquirer employees were asked to cherish the historic feats the newspaper had pulled off and the imprints it left on the country’s history since it first saw print on Dec. 9, 1985.
Like a gladiator rallying her army for a new battle, Romualdez urged them to “celebrate and meet the future with great hope, the hope that we are being watched over by a generous and caring God.”
“Rather than focus on things which debilitate us, tonight let’s choose to celebrate the amazing journey. Rather than think of our detractors, tonight let’s choose to bask in glory of being the most awarded newspaper, respected by Filipinos the world over,” she said.
Romualdez thanked the INQUIRER’s editorial team for their efforts in realizing the newspaper’s goal of empowering the Filipino people.
Catalyst for progress, change
“We have always kept the mission of being a catalyst of progress and change. Thank you for sacrificing the time with your loved ones to ensure that we are first, fair and fearless,” she said.
Romualdez also cited the sales and advertising teams for making the company “grow from a multimillion-peso revenue base to a multibillion-peso business.”
“Just when people were writing us off, you decided to work with our advertisers and produce 172 pages [for our anniversary issue],” she said. “This has been the spirit you have carried throughout the 32 years.”
Amid the hardships she had to deal with in steering the country’s No. 1 newspaper, Romualdez said she found comfort in the words of appreciation from ordinary people.
“Not a week goes by when someone approaches me to tell me they love the Inquirer and it’s the only paper they read. Be it a businessman, a [school] principal or a priest. I pray that God give you the strength to weather whatever storm we might face,” she added.
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