Ali G. Macabalang
Alhamdulillah. I am pleased with the birth of The Philippine Muslim Today last month, with fellow veteran Muslim scribe Masiding Noor Yahya taking the cudgel to publish it to flesh out an age-old dream for an alternative newspaper to mostly Metro Manila-based dailies.
I am in the fourth decade of continuous media practice. And candidly, I had attempted many times to organize a pool journalists and put up a paper, through which the issues, concerns and aspirations of Muslim Filipinos can be raised sans the usual editorial biases by Manila-based editors.
I chose “Punchline” as a title to my column in revival of one that I used to maintain with the Manila Bulletin starting in 1994 until early 2000 when field correspondents’ columns were indefinitely suspended after a fellow columnist was slapped with a libel suit. I felt the suspension of provincial columns in MB was unfair because it had a semblance of a military rule – “fault of one is a fault of all.”
Inshaallah, I will devote this revived column on the presentation of pressing concerns involving Muslim Filipinos, such as the plight of thousands of Maranaw families displaced for three years by the infamous 2017 Marawi siege.
I hope this space will be able to help put things in proper order and perspective, just the way by past column in MB led to the stoppage of operations in Maguindanao of a logging company involved in unsolved harassments on native residents opposed to deforestation and eventual titling of forest lands.
My past column also led to the dismissal from service of some unscrupulous military officials on various grounds, mostly abuse of authority.
Watch for my presentation of pressing issues in the succeeding PMT issues. Dear readers should support this young e-newspaper.
Initially, the Bangsamoro government has acknowledged the essence of this newspaper, even as Local Government Minister conveyed intention to host a meeting with the people behind PMT for discussion of things of mutual interest.
Abangan and supportahan po ang Philippine Muslim Today. Salamat.
PHILIPPINE MUSLIM TODAY