National Press Club of the Philippines

From Wikipilipinas: The Hip 'n Free Philippine Encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) is a professional and social organization of journalists in the Philippines. It was incorporated on October 29, 1952 through the initiative of newspaperman Teodoro Valencia, who became its first president.

When it was first established, broadcast journalism, especially television journalism, was not yet developed. Thus, the original members of the organization consisted only of journalists in print media. Now, however, the NPC includes radio and television journalists.

The NPC has taken an active stand on matters affecting press freedom. It has also conducted activities aimed at improving the practice of journalism in the Philippines. It has fraternal relations with international journalist organizations, and is an active member of the Confederation of ASEAN Journalists.


Contents

Objectives

The NPC was founded with the objective of "uphold[ing] the freedom of the press and the dignity of the newspaperman's profession." It aims to provide help to members of the media and their families, who are often vulnerable to libel suits or even assassination attempts. More than that, the NPC seeks to provide people who gather and disseminate news a center for the advancement of their professional standards and skills, the promotion of free expression, mutual support and social fellowship. In order to police its own ranks, the NPC reprimands abusive media practitioners, especially those who engage in so-called "envelopmental journalism"; but at the same time it provides legal assistance to those who are sued because of legitimate criticism.

The NPC promotes the strict adherence of journalists to a code of ethics, such as the Walter William's Journalist's Creed. [1]


Facilities

The NPC has its headquarters, offices and facilities in a 5,184.7 square meter property in the heart of Manila along Magallanes Drive, besides Jones Bridge, the National Postal Office, Pasig River, and the historic walled city of Intramuros. The lot was purchased by act of Congress during the time of President Elpidio Quirino.It holds regular socials for its members, but also uses its offices for symposia on matters concerning mass media.

National Press Club Building

The four-storey main building was built in June 1954 and inaugurated on December 30, 1955 by President Ramon Magsaysay. It was designed by the late Angel E. Nakpil as one of the modern and first earthquake-proof buildings in the Philippines, and constructed by Engr. Alberto T. Abaya.

The NPC building is a popular forum for press conferences held by other organizations.

Bar and Restaurant

On the third floor is the restaurant and bar for the exclusive use of club members. The restaurant offers native cuisine, such as the “national food” - a combination of rice, fried egg and corned beef, the favorite meal of newspapermen who, by the nature of their work, are used to eating on the run. The bar serves San Miguel Pale Pilsen, the newsman’s favorite, Tanduay, wine and liquor of foreign brand. Although open for late breakfast at 9 am, at dusk the restaurant is a beehive of journalists who gather there to compare notes on the day’s coverage, exchange views and opinions, plan out their assignments for the next day, renew friendship, bolster camaraderie, dine and drink.

Entertainment

The club has singers and other performers every so often, especially during the famous Celebrity Nights. Members also play games like billiards, dart, black jack, lucky nine, poker, mahjong, or the local balut (a dice game), tong-its (card game) to their hearts’ content until the wee hours.

Officers’ and directors’ offices

Also on the third floor of the main building are the offices of the NPC president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and other club officers and directors, as well as the secretariat.

VIP conference room and member’s lounge

Also on the third floor, the VIP room has been the site of important press conferences by many groups on various issues affecting Philippine society. It is fully air-conditioned and is available for rent to non-members. This is where the club's board of directors and officers hold their regular and special meetings and where members hold their parlor games and karaoke stints.

Bulwagang Plaridel

The entire fourth floor of the main building consists of a large air-conditioned convention hall named after history's foremost Philippine journalist, Marcelo H. del Pilar. The hall is ideal for meetings, workshops and conventions of groups of 200 to 300 persons at a very minimal rental. Prominent Filipinos like President Fidel V. Ramos have hob-nobbed with journalists in this hall.

The hall's most striking feature is a mural that depicts corruption in the press. The club commissioned National Artist Vicente Manansala to paint this piece for P2,000. But the Teodoro Valencia was able to convince then Manila Chronicle publisher Eugenio Lopez, Sr. to pay Manansala P20,000, a handsome amount considering that the peso-dollar rate then was P3.20 to one. According to some estimates, the mural is now worth about P15 million.

Other facilities

The club annex building beside the Jones Bridge was originally built as a bowling alley and recreation center for the NPC members but has been converted into office spaces which presently houses, among others, the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences or FAMAS.

Beside it stands the four-storey NPC Medical Clinic named after its donor, Dr. Emilio Yap, chairman of the Board of the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp. Since its opening in 1992, hundreds of NPC members, club employees and their dependents have benefited from the clinic in terms of free consultation, free medical, dental and optical services and free medicines.

Election procedures

The NPC elects a new set of officers every year. The election is held every first Sunday of May with over a thousand regular and lifetime club members voting for president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, auditor and 10 directors who will hold office for one year.

Voting time is set at 12 noon after a convention at 9 AM. The election, held at Plaridel Hall, is supervised by a committee on elections composed of a chairman and four members.

Counting of ballots is done an hour after 5 PM which is the deadline for voting. Usually, the counting of ballots lasts up to 3-5 AM, after which the winning candidates are proclaimed by the chairman of the election body.

Former presidents

The first NPC general election was held in 1952 with the late Luciano Millan of the defunct Philippines Herald elected as president. Eugenio Santos won the position the following year. Teodoro Valencia took over the post in 1955.

The Manila Bulletin has produced many NPC presidents: Tony Zumel, 1968-71; Pat Gonzales, 1975-76; Ben Rodriguez, 1982-84; Tony Nieva, 1984-86; Tony Antonio, 1991-92 and 1999-2000; Fred Lobo, 1995-98; and Fred Gabot, 1998-99.

Marcelo Lagmay, editor-in-chief of Balita (a sister publication of the Manila Bulletin) served the longest. He was president from 1988 to 1990 and from 1992 to 1995.

Other former presidents include Butch del Castillo, Domingo Abadilla, Amante Bigornia, Neal Cruz, Armando Doronila, Olaf Giron, Ricardo Torres, Gene Marcial, Nereo Andolong, Art Borjal, Macario Vicencio, Reynaldo Jaleco, Tirso Rodriguez, Ernesto Granada, Francisco Dipasupil, Liberato Marinas, Johnny Perez, Jr., Primitivo Mijares, Eddie Monteclaro, Pat Gonzales, Antonio Zumel and Jose Aspiras.


Reference