Martial law and 4 'freedom publishers': Roces, Burgos, et al


Posted at Sep 21 2019 01:01 PM | Updated as of Sep 23 2019 01:12 PM


Joaquin "Chino" Roces played an important role in reclaiming the nation's democracy from the hands of a dictator.

A well-known and respected publisher of The Manila Times, Don Chino was among those jailed when Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law.

Soon after his release, he joined street protests wherein the growing dissent was sometimes met by tear gas, water cannons, and truncheons.

He also spearheaded the campaign to collect 1 million signatures that convinced Corazon Aquino, widow of slain opposition senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., to face Marcos in the 1986 snap elections.

In 1988, he was conferred the Legion of Honor medal. He passed away on Sept. 30 of that same year at the age of 75.


Eugenia Apostol set up Mr. & Ms. Magazine after leaving Woman's Home Companion during martial law. It was there that she provided space to stories critical of Marcos.

Mr. & Ms. also ran a special edition on the funeral procession of assassinated opposition leader Ninoy Aquino in 1983, after she was alarmed at how mainstream media ignored the news despite public outrage.

In 1984, Apostol also established The Inquirer as a weekly publication to cover the trial of Ninoy's assassination. It turned into a daily newspaper in Dec. 1985 and covered the fall of the dictatorship.


When press freedom was stifled during martial law and press releases about the Marcos regime were fed as truth to the public, Jose "Joe" Burgos Jr. countered this by publishing We Forum and Malaya, which formed part of the alternative press or what was also known as the mosquito press.

The newspaper's exposé on the fake war medals of President Ferdinand Marcos landed him and the We Forum staff in jail. While We Forum was raided and padlocked, he started publishing his second newspaper, Ang Pahayagang Malaya.

His contributions to the mosquito press helped spread alternative news about the dictatorship, which eventually fell through a popular revolt in February 1986.

Burgos was among those named as World Press Freedom Heroes of the 20th century. He passed away in 2003. He is the father of missing farmer-activist Jonas Burgos.


Raul Locsin found his calling in journalism and was committed to the principle that a newspaper is a public trust.

Locsin published Business Day in 1967, the first business newspaper in Southeast Asia, after leaving his work at the Manila Chronicle.

It survived martial law and contributed to the growing dissent that toppled the dictatorship in 1986. The closure of Business Day in 1987 due to a labor dispute saw the birth of BusinessWorld. In 1999, Locsin received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts.

Locsin died in 2003.