GMA’s Journalist Press Secretary Writes 30 (Retitled, Updated)
I first wrote this exactly one year ago after Cerge Remonde was named Press Secretary:
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has undertaken was could very well be the momestretch ‘mini’ revamp of her Cabinet with movements that will help shape her legacy if and when she steps down in 2010 after 9 years in power.
This writer, while oftentimes critical of the government-of-the-day’s missteps if not patent mis-governance, is particularly gladdened by her selection of a dyed-in-the-wool journalist to head the Office of the Press Secretary.
Carge Femonde is a professional of the highest order.
I had the honor of being with Secretary Remonde, then one of Cebu’s most popular radio commentators, as member of the US State Department International VisitorsProgram in 1991.
That year the hottest public affairs issue in RP-US relations was the impending lapse of the tenure of US military bases in the Philippines.
The trip to across the U.S. was a thoroughly enjoyable learning experience with Remonde oftentimes providing both humorous anecdotes and insightful observations about the events of the day.
In his previous post as chief of the Presidential Management Staff, I have gotten only salutary assessments of Cerge’s management and policy formulation style: even-handed and process-driven.
This should bode well for the media entities now coming under Cerge’s ambit, not to mention having a hopefully positive impact on the Palace’s working relations with the “freest if rambunctious press in Asia, with both MSM and new media intensely focused on the day to day issues that amuse, or rile Philippine society.
Messaging is Remonde’s forte and any government’s political capital rises or falls on how well Palace ‘messaging’ matches perception and reality.
We’ll be watching, Manong Cerge.
This morning a 11:51 a.m. doctors at the Makati Medical Center pronounced Cerge dead after not responding to efforts to revive him.
He was apparent brought to the ER past 11 a.m. after being found unconcious in the bathroom of his Bel Air Makati home.
He had been scheduled to preside over the usual Malacanang press briefing at 11 a.m.
Reports said he had retured over the weekend from attending the Sinulog Festival in Cebu, his home province.
Our divergent political views aside, Cerge remained a dear friend and true professional till the very end.
Cerge has gone to that great newsroom in the sky with his boots on.
He was 51.
Here’s a screenshot of his last status update on FaceBook:
LORD, THANK YOU FOR YOUR INFINITE LOVE THAT MEETS OUR EVERY NEED AND PROVIDES ALL THE BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL THINGS WE EXPERIENCE IN LIFE. RELEASE OUR HEARTS AND MINDS FROM FEAR AND WORRY. FILL US WITH YOUR PEACE AS WE LEARN TO FULLY TRUST IN YOUR PROVIDENCE. HELP US TO DO ALL THAT WE ARE CAPABLE OF AND THE REST WE ENTRUST UNTO YOU. AMEN.
Farewell dear friend.
Magkikita tayong muli!
Here’s the news on Sec. Remonde’s death as it broke: