Introducing Chit Estella: A Reader

Bobby Tuazon
Director for Policy Studies
August 17, 2012

The idea of coming out with a book about Chit Estella was inevitable after she left us in May last year. Prof. Roland Simbulan was of course instrumental in pursuing this project and CenPEG, where he is a Fellow and Board member, became the venue for discussing the plan. Manuscripts of Chit’s writings were readily available as were newspapers and magazines where she was part of as a writer and editor; as well as internet sources.

Sometime in October last year, Roland gave us a printed anthology of most of Chit’s selected works that were written over the past 15-20 years. We thought of publishing the book in May this year but what decided it’s being printed and launched in August was to make it more significant with the birth anniversary of Chit which is August 19.

It would need probably one or two more books to publicize Chit Estella’s works written since her Philippine Collegian days in the late 1970s to her memorable stint in the Left underground press and her early years as a beat reporter and then as a tough editor of various national dailies. But I would like to believe that this book already serves as a preview of the thoughts, values, and principles that were nurtured in her Collegian and underground days when committed journalism became the call of the times and fighting for democracy exacted the highest levels of courage, integrity, and sacrifice among countless Filipinos.

Chit wrote about the Edsa I and Edsa II revolutions. But what also defined journalism during this period of 30 or so years was another revolution of which she was a part of – the transition from the technology of the underground or “mosquito” press to today’s cyberspace, online publication, and citizen journalism. Those were the days were when vibrant anti-dictatorship underground press used the Olympia typewriter, the V-type silkscreen, and Gestetner mimeograph machine to publish the BMP and Liberation where Chit was a correspondent. And now we’re thankful we can read online the CMFR Philippine Journalism Review, Vera Files, CenPEG, PCIJ, BusinessWorld, Bulatlat, PinoyWeekly, and other publications with just a desktop, webmaster, domain host and servers. Even the underground press has gone online and mainstream social media.

Thus Chit would have loved to dedicate this book to those who became the cogs and wheels of this revolutionary process (the likes of Jacinto “Jack” Pena, Dean Armando Malay, Ma. Lorena Barros, Tony Tagamolila, Emman Lacaba, Valerio Nofuente, Romulo Sandoval, Antonio Zumel, Joe Burgos, and many others) and to those who continue to bear the torch – so to speak – in the struggle for democracy and press freedom. And she would have also said today, this book is worth reading. To which I would probably add – especially to the masscom students - it is also worth buying.

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