DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /02 July) – The 70-year old Mindanao Daily Mirror is writing 30 on July 3, 2020, another media entity in Mindanao that will trace its death to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mirror’s last issue comes three days after the 25-year old SunStar Cagayan de Oro stopped its print edition but announced it would retain its online presence. It is not clear, however, who will run the online operations as the editorial staff’s last day in office was June 30.
The Manila-based management of the Davao City-based Mindanao Daily Mirror has not issued a statement on the closure of the paper but editor in chief Jon Joaquin in a statement said the lockdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic “drastically affected the operations” of the daily newspaper and the new management which took over on October 1, 2018 “can no longer sustain the Mirror’s daily operations and printing cost.”
Joaquin said all Davao City-based employees have been retrenched but will receive salaries and other entitlements.
“There is no word if management will continue the online platforms (website, Facebook, etc.). If they do, we (Davao City staff) will not be part of it,” he said.
Joaquin added that their last day of press work is on July 2, 2020 “with the last issue coming out on July 3, 2020.”
For other questions, Joaquin said they “defer to management to issue their own statement on the matter.”
The editorial team of 12 will join the ranks of the unemployed on July 3, the last issue of the newspaper that has chronicled the city’s history for seven decades, interrupted only by a few week’s closure following the declaration of martial law by then President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972.
Joaquin said the other employees of the paper are in the administrative and printing sections but he does not have the exact figure.
The Mindanao Daily Mirror was established in 1950 by Demetrio Flaviano, vowing to be “Your exponent of Truth and Progress.”
The city has had 18 mayors since 1937. The Mirror chronicled the city’s
history under ten mayors in 70 years: Bernardo Teves (1949 to 1953), Rodolfo Sarenas (1953 to 1954), Carmelo Porras (1956 to 1967), Elias Lopez (1968 to 1971; 1981 to 1986), Luis Santos (1972 to 1981); Zafiro Respicio (April 1986 to November 1987), Jacinto Rubillar (November 1987 to February 1988), Rodrigo Duterte (1988 to 1998; 2001 to 2010; 2013 to 2016), Benjamin de Guzman (1998 to 2001), and Sara Duterte (2010 to 2013 and since 2016).
Flaviano passed on the community newspaper to his children and grandchildren.
It changed hands on October 1, 2018 when the Flavianos sold it to the new owners. The paper’s publisher is Gian Carlo Galang.
While the three other daily newspapers in Davao City shifted to online editions or printed only six issues instead of seven a week during the lockdown that started March 15, Joaquin told MindaNews on May 4 that the Mirror continued to print the daily newspaper, still at 20 pages, since the city was placed under community quarantine on March 15. He said the papers were delivered direct to their subscribers.
“Our new owners are firm on making sure everyone still has a job,” Joaquin added. No one was retrenched and everyone was working form home, except for those in the printing press, he said.
On Thursday, Joaquin told MindaNews that they continued printing in May and June.
In a Facebook post at Thursday noon, Joaquin thanked “all of you who journeyed with us in our long and short run.”
He said they had “long-term plans that would honor the paper’s status as an institution in Davao City.
The plans were cut short by COVID-19.
“I am thankful to management for seeing us through the dark days of the pandemic, but in the end the harsh realities prevailed. I am especially thankful to our team which worked hard to keep the Mirror fresh and relevant. It’s been an honor. I’m sure we will be bumping into each other frequently as we continue the work of journalism,” Joaquin wrote. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)