CONSIDERED a great loss to the Arroyo administration and the country, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde wanted to return to his first love—the media—after his stint in the Cabinet.

Remonde was more known to Cebu as one of the island’s most hard-hitting media men, spanning a career in the broadcast and print media for almost two decades.

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One of Remonde’s earliest jobs in the media as a stringer at the Philippine News Agency. During the Martial Law era, Remonde became the managing editor and columnist of the now-defunct Visayan Herald.

After being recruited by the German Friedrich Ebert Stiffung, Remonde was absorbed by its partner institution, radio dyLA, becoming a hard-hitting commentator for its program, dyLA Interaction,

With Remonde at the helm of dyLA Interaction, the program became a primetime news and commentary program that set the benchmark for public affairs programming.

Remonde also held the distinction of being the first ever to rise from the ranks of provincial reporters to become the national chairman of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas (KBP), and the first KBP chairman to be elected to a sixth term.

Born in Barangay Lamacan in the southern Cebu town of Argao, Remonde was one of eight kids of Teofilo and Florentina.

His father, a bus conductor, died when he was only 11 months old.

But despite the loss, Remonde grew up to be a responsible and understanding child, entering school at the age of five and he was a consistent honor student.

When he was seven, his mother remarried but Remonde remained steadfast in helping his family out of poverty.

Through a scholarship, Remonde graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the Visayas (UV).

Later he took up Cooperation and Development Studies at the Afro-Asia Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1986, and also attended an International Visitors Program hosted by the US State Department in Washington, DC in 1992.

In January 2001, President Arroyo, three days after assuming office, appointed him press undersecretary in charge of broadcast. He was later named head of the Government Mass Media Group, overseeing various government-owned media entities, including NBN 4, RPN 9 and IBC 13; Bureau of Broadcast Services or Radyo ng Bayan; Bureau of Communication Services; and the Philippine News Agency.

In October 2006, he was appointed director-general of the Presidential Management Staff. He was the lead convenor of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, a position he held in concurrent capacity.

Last year, Remonde was appointed by the Commission on Appointments as press secretary.

He received various awards, among them Most Outstanding Visayanian in the Field of Mass Media in 1998 and, together with former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., Most Outstanding Cebuano in 1999.

Aside from his Cabinet post and his being senior adviser to the GRP-NDF Peace Panel, Remonde was chairman of the Advertising Board of the Philippines, the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists and the Appeals Board of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. He also served as commissioner of the Communications Committee for Unesco.

Remonde hoped to return to media after his stint as Arroyo’s press secretary. (PR)