KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 13 February) – Cotabato Archbishop Angelito Lampon has called for continued support to Mindanao’s longest running Catholic weekly, which was founded by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) missionaries in 1948.
Lampon, a member of the OMI, lauded the Mindanao Cross (MC) for surviving the test of times and for being faithful to its policy of publishing not only Church news but also social issues and concerns in the area involving Christians, Muslims and indigenous peoples.
“To have survived for 72 years is quite a feat. During martial law years, many newspapers closed down but MC continued on,” the prelate said.
The Mindanao Cross, touted as “The Little Paper with a Big Cause,” first saw print on February 6, 1948, through a printing press then capable of printing a two-page spread at one time.
It was donated by a donor from New York to the OMI missionaries then headed by the late Archbishop Gerard Mongeau.
The weekly comes out every Saturday morning since the first print, and at its peak reached 17,000 copies, Lampon said.
In its anniversary message, The Mindanao Cross wrote that for the past seven decades, “it has served as a standard bearer of news for the whole of Cotabato, pioneering in peace reporting and advocating for Muslim-Christian solidarity, and the preservation of the cultures and traditions of Moro, indigenous people, and Christian communities in the country’s south.”
The old Cotabato empire province was dissolved in the 1970s to become the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.
The paper vowed to continue to perform its role in the midst of the growing influence of the internet and social media, and the proliferation of “fake news” and “alternative facts” through these electronic communications media.
Fr. Rogelio Tabuada, OMI, and Eva Kimpo-Tan are the current chief executive officer and editor-in-chief, respectively, of the paper.
Lampon expressed confidence that Mindanao Cross can continue to survive the advent of the internet and social media.
The internet in the last several years has forced many newspapers around the globe to shut down or publish websites as readers’ preference shifted online, reports said.
The Mindanao Cross has still an important and valuable role to play in Cotabato City and the neighboring provinces, the prelate said.
Lampon noted that Mindanao Cross’ focus on local issues is “irreplaceable “ even as it reports on burning international and national issues.
Only our local editors and reporters in the field can report and make a credible analysis of our local situation, he said.
Lampon admitted that business-wise, the weekly paper “might not be a lucrative financial endeavor.”
“But this (financial success) has never been the original purpose for which it was founded. MC has a mission beyond finances,” he said. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)