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  • Jul 09, 2024

The Recloser

A Tear for Midland

I feel sad and sadder for the Baguio Midland Courier.

It’s a weekly we hanker for every Sunday and to learn that its July 21, 2024 issue will be its last is unthinkable. It’s a shock actually to be honest about it. The void it will create once it leaves the scene will surely make the community here no longer be the same.

BENECO for one will surely miss the paper. The electric cooperative cannot deny that it owes the local paper a lot, from fair coverage to unselfish news spaces. Through the years, Midland has provided a very respectable platform for us in this business of electric distribution to inform, educate and empower our member consumer owners (MCOs). The paper’s readers are no doubt MCOs of BENECO. Through the paper, the cooperative was able to explain what the unbundled rates mean and why MCOs should pay their share capital, among others. One less publication meant one less a medium for BENECO to circulate among its consumers.

Midland’s pages saw how BENECO grew. It’s rise from the ruins of the 1990 tremor, its success to become Triple A, its feat of having the lowest rate for years and its deployment of the highly benchmarked system control and data acquisition (SCADA) system all got their fair shake in the paper.

I, who has handled BENECO’s PR for years, is also deeply grateful for the paper’s staff who always sought the side of the cooperative for issues that threaten to lay dirt on the utility’s reputation. Take the GM controversy for one. I guess we were given enough space to fight the powers that be who sought to muddle how a GM should be chosen.

On the sides, the cooperative also feels indebted to Midland’s publication of the weekly schedule for power interruption free of charge. Thank you, Midland.

We will surely buy a space on your last issue. I told GM Mel, my boss, that we will get a one fourth ad but he said why not one half, meaning he, too, acknowledges Midland’s impact to BENECO.

I also rue Midland’s departure. I had criticized Midland then when it kept on ending its editorials with a tag or credit line in parenthesis. And I had issues with its banner stories dealing with figures or numbers. I also raised eyebrows on what I believed were wrong story preferences on page 1. But that’s all part of the news.

Well, I was also once a newsboy who sold copies of the Midland in front of Tiong San along Magsaysay Avenue. After the 20th copy is sold around 2 PM, I hike to Plaza Theater to watch my favorite Fernando Poe Jr. flick, using my “galansya.”

I salute the Midland for its brand of community journalism. And I say that with an exclamation point.

To Harley, Jane, Rima, Hanna and Ofelia, feel proud that you were part of a newspaper that has undeniably chronicled Baguio City and the region’s history.

It’s not the end yet for you guys. The stuff you got for writing news will surely land you elsewhere. Do not write 30 yet.

Let’s have coffee at the Bern. My treat. Hugs. 7/9/2024