When the clouds fade away

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Who would ever think what lengths this coronavirus would reach in incapacitating activities worldwide? Now it is your DAILY STAR that has felt its effects. Not, thank God has it hit our wonderful staff for whom I pray with all my heart everyday, but its victim in our vicinity is the project that we have nurtured and sacrificed for so much, for more than 38 years now. It was a most painful decision to make, but this time our concern was not only our dwindling finances, but the health of our staff who have worked with us in sickness and in heath, through thick and thin.

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That is why you may soon miss your daily dose of STAR news and commentaries, as well as your topics for discussions and conversations that used to be supplied to you by your STAR daily. For more than 38 years now, we have faithfully seen to it that we supply you with the happenings in our city and province as well as from the other parts of the country and the world. But we know you will understand why we had to take this move: Not only would it be exposing our staff to danger as they go around covering their beats, but also to ensure that all of them are safe.

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And there are other considerations, of course. The long period of this COVID pandemic has deprived us of our daily sources of income to keep publishing your daily news source. Aside from that, our main supporters, our advertisers, have mostly been badly hit in their businesses, too, and are now gasping for breath themselves. Collectibles from our ad sources in Manila and other cities are no longer forthcoming. For several months, since this all started, we struggled, until we had to finally bite the bullet and call a halt to our issues.

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But we assure all our faithful readers, that this is not an end, it is just a pause in our operations. We are still as gung-ho over our “baby” as we have always been. Especially when we think of how wholeheartedly and faithfully our readers and subscribers have been through all those 38 years. As the first daily newspaper to thrive in our city and province, we pride ourselves in the thought that all of you have accepted us and supported us all that time. Thank you, thank you, and please join us in prayer for our earliest return!

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Please bear with me again when I lapse into sentimental reminiscences about your DAILY STAR. It was on April 12, 1982 when a group of us local journalists, chafing under the control of publishers who were more controlling than supporting, decided one night, after coming from a gathering where such “controlling” had been manifested, went into this brainstorm of publishing our very own daily newspaper. Enthusiastically, we decided to call it “The Newsmen’s Newspaper”. But aside from the protests from the girls – there were only three of us then in the Negros Press Club – there was also the possibility that it might be mistaken as a paper for newsmen and women only.

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The night was cool and bright with stars dotting the heavens then, so someone said, “Why not call it The DAILY STAR”? Everybody agreed to that, and plans started to gel immediately. And do you know how much each of us had to shell out as “investment”? P1000.00 each! Of course everybody thought we were crazy, but then Albert Lim (now deceased, bless his soul), had a printing press and his store became our office as well as printer. But soon we were too cramped and moved on to a cubbyhole in the Goldenfields Commercial Complex, from where we transferred seven more times, until the STAR started doing well and we dared some more.

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Would anybody believe we are not joking when I say that henceforth we were able to buy a lot at Araneta Street, and construct our present home, the three-story DAILY STAR Building that stands there now? And that without getting any loan or charity from a lot of people who were willing to help us. That is our pride and joy, and it hurts us to think that we may be forced to stop publishing by present circumstances. But we continue to pray because prayers had always been the main factor that had kept us going.

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Of course we were also blessed in the people who joined us and helped greatly in professionalizing our project. First we had Allen del Carmen and later Carla Gomez, both holders of Master’s degrees in journalism from prestigious schools in the U.S. Then came Michell Duran, also a journalism graduate from Silliman University, Eli Tajanlangit, from the University of St. La Salle, who were among our pioneers. Today, our staff members are all journalism graduates, and I think not many newspapers in the country can boast of that. And I myself, even if no M.A. holder, I have taken courses in the subject at the University of the Philippines and can pride myself in being one of the few in the country to have passed the first and only Civil Service examination for Information Writers in Journalism, and second placer at that. Otherwise I would certainly have an inferiority complex among my staff.

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But please don’t think this is the end of your DAILY STAR. As General Douglas Mac-Arthur said when he left the Philippines, “I shall return!”. Make no doubt about it – your STAR may pause for a while, but it will return and go on. With your help and support, how can it not? The STAR may be covered by clouds for a while, but wait till the dimness fades and it will be back shining brightly again by the grace of our Maker, who inspired us all!*

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