Thursday, June 11, 2009

Two Decades as Editorial Cartoonist

June 12 is red-letter day. Not that today is the "111th Philippine Independence Day" but because this is the day that my first editorial cartoon appeared in mainstream publication The Peoples Daily Forum, one of the longest running community papers in Davao City, about two decades ago. I am really grateful to the publisher Mr. Roger Flaviano and his wife Mrs. Dory Flaviano for the opportunity they gave me. While financially the honorarium was never enough, it helped me a lot as a college student then needing additional financial allowance, aside from the chance to share my opinion on various issues.

And guess what, my first editorial cartoon for PDF tackled the issue on so-called "independence day." Actually, I first contributed cartoons to our campus paper, The Crossroads (of the Holy Cross of Davao College), in 1986 until I became part of its editorial staff in 1988. Two decades of drawing various socioeconomic issues has been so enriching for me. I learned many things from this trade. From PDF, I moved in 1990 to the Ang Peryodiko Dabaw (now Sun-Star Davao) as its editorial cartoonist until the present time.

In two decades, I received a number of reviews on my works. Some favored in line with the issue while others reacted strongly to the drawings although not as life-threatening as maybe compared to what other cartoonists face in other countries. But of course I could not forget a warning from a fellow staff about a political figure who was incensed of my series of cartoons. And then I had a long phone conversion with a judge who shared her program concerning the "rogues in robes" referring to some judges who are for a pay. She was prompted to call me when she read a cartoon on the issue. Also there were times that I would be asked to carry out a consistent attack on a political figure during elections. But I refused to join them stressing my point that I would only draw cartoons on valid issues and nothing else regardless of who are the personalities involved.

After 20 years, I would say to myself "PADAYON!" (continue)...

By the way, in the photo above is Pepay, staff of Congressman Proceso Alcala (
Quezon Province District 2). I was there last year when they asked me to do the book design for their sustainable agriculture book.