Friday, December 25, 2009

Veteran Journalist Named ARMM Media Bureau Head

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / December 25, 2009) – Acting Regional Governor Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has named veteran journalist Ali Macabalang, a Manila Bulletin correspondent, as executive director of the ARMM’s Bureau of Public Information.

Macabalang, who has been in media practice for almost 31 years now, was appointed on Monday along with 11 other members of the ARMM cabinet, but he formally assumed office only on Wednesday.

Many journalists who knew Macabalang as a hardworking newsman, lauded his appointment. Macabalang was a pioneer executive director of the Bureau of Public Information from 1993 to 1997.

Macabalang worked out in 1996 the elevation of BPI from a mere division for media affairs, which he deemed inappropriate for services required in a region like ARMM.

He had broadened the operations of the media outfit to serve not only the office of the regional governor, but all the ARMM agencies and put up local coordinating offices in the component provinces of the region.

In his meeting with his staff on Wednesday, Macabalang said he would revive the previous linkages of the BPI with the local, national and foreign media organizations in a bid to improve the image of the Muslim autonomous region, which was marred by reports of alleged corruption and governmental malpractices.

In a casual meeting, new Regional Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo has expressed optimisism that Macabalang can help pursue the Adiong regime’s avowed policies on “transparent, consultative and moral governance.”

Macabalang started his media practice in early 1979 under the defunct Department of Public Information and Office of Media Affairs until 1986 and later joined the Philippine Daily Inquirer and other foreign news agencies from 1987 to 1993, during which he was appointed in the ARMM's media bureau.

In later part of 1993, then Manila Bulletin provincial editor Tony Antonio took Macabalang as correspondent for ARMM and Central Mindanao, a job he wanted to sustain while serving the regional media outfit.

Macabalang is a graduate of bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in Public Administration, which he finished at the Mindanao State University in 1978 and 1985, respectively. (With reports from Mark Navales, Geo Solmerano and Merlyn Manos)

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