CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 28 June) — The management of SunStar Group of Companies said it would stop the presses for its subsidiary, the 25-year old Sunstar Cagayan de Oro, and its sister publication, Superbalita CDO effective June 30.
In an advertisement published in a rival newspaper here, the Cebu-based newspaper company said SunStar Cagayan de Oro will still remain on its digital platform and can be viewed online at www.sunstar.com.ph/cagayan.
“The company has seen so much potential in the digital platform and has envisioned the future of journalism through online initiatives,” the management said in its ad.
SunStar Cagayan de Oro had just celebrated its 25th year anniversary after its print edition was first published in June 1995.
According to employees of SunStar Cagayan de Oro, the management is also closing down its newsroom and has already advised its reporters and editors that their services will also end on June 30.
It is not clear who will run the online operations of SunStar Cagayan de Oro.
SunStar Cagayan de Oro management declined to be interviewed and instead referred to the ad which also addressed its partners and clients in Cagayan de Oro.
“The company needs to stop its printing operations and refocus its resources to its newfound goals,” the SunStar Cagayan de Oro management said.
The newspaper had seen lag in sales in the past years but the COVID-19 pandemic aggravated its economic problems.
Dabatian Street in Barangay Carmen where its office and printing operations are located was subjected to a nearly month-long lockdown, driving away potential clients.
A 34-year-old market vendor died of COVID-19 while five of her family members got infected, prompting the local government to lock down the street and the community.
Pamela Orias, an editor of Sunstar Cagayan de Oro, said she is scared of what will happen to her after June 30.
Orias said she does not know where to get the money to pay for rent and food.
“I dread each day as June 30 nears because I have no other employment options,” Orias said.
She said ten other editors and reporters will be affected by the closure of the newspaper print operations.
Orias and the reporters will join the ranks of some 813 workers who have already lost their jobs after 48 firms in Northern Mindanao closed down because of the pandemic.
The Department of Labor and Employment also reported the pandemic affected some 1,800 workers after their firms temporarily shut down or reduced their workforce.
SunStar Cagayan de Oro’s first editor-in-chief was Carlos Conde, now with Human Rights Watch. The other journalists who served as chief editors include Vanessa Almeda, Stephen Capillas, Danny Adorador, Grace Cantal-Albasin, JB Deveza and this reporter. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)