Antonio Movera Ajero

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews) – Veteran journalist Antonio Movera Ajero, a pillar of community journalism, died on Sunday. He was 76.

His daughter May, announced via social media that her father, known as AMA, “Daddy Cool,” Tatay Tony to his family and colleagues, “passed away peacefully in his sleep today.”

In a statement, Edge Davao announced that Ajero “died in his sleep early this morning after a lingering illness.”

Ajero, publisher and editor-in-chief of Edge Davao and chair of the Board of Edge Davao Review Publishing Inc. and Zion Accuprint Publishing Inc., was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in May this year,

Edge Davao announced, in a statement, that Ajero, known as “AMA, Mang Tony, Daddy Cool, or Tatay Tony” to his family and colleagues, died “in his sleep early this morning after a lingering illness.”

Ajero, chair of the Board of Edge Davao Review Publishing Inc. and Zion Accuprint Publishing Inc. and the newspaper’s publisher and editor-in-chief, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in May this year.

The veteran journalist also worked as publisher and editor-in-chief of SunStar Davao from 1995 to 2002 and as its publisher from 2002 until he retired in 2008.

“He will be remembered as a pillar of the Davao media industry and among the leading figures in the local print industry. AMA inspired many young journalists throughout his time in the media,” SunStar Davao said in a statement.

Ariel Cevantes Sebellino, executive director of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), condoled with the Ajero family for the passing of one of the pillars in community journalism and thanked Ajero for his “valuable and outstanding contribution in promoting excellence in community journalism and advancing the welfare of community journalists.”

Edge Davao Managing editor Neil Bravo considered Ajero as his “perfectionist” mentor who was meticulous with details.

“Sir Tony will mince no words pointing out a mistake. But those words are the grindstones of excellence,” he said.

Bravo said he was privileged to have worked with Ram Maxey, also a veteran journalist who died in 2014, and Ajero among the “most prolific ‘journosaurs’ of this era.”

He said one “can’t have a mentor better than Sir Tony.”

Whilst me and Sir Tony may differ at times on how we present the news and how we conceptualize the paper especially during special supplements, it is that ‘difference’ that sharpened (we prefer sharp than polished) the edges of this newspaper. Our gentle arguments led us to come up with better pages,” he said.

“Losing Sir Tony as the skipper of Edge Davao’s small but versatile team is like losing everything,” he said.

“But we owe it to him, and it will be almost contemptuous to put all his works in building a brand like Edge Davao to go to naught. Fare thee well, Sir Tony. Thank you for the lessons. Your brand of journalism lives forever,” he added.

For Jon Joaquin, former Edge Davao editor, Ajero taught him not only the value of fairness, diligence, and duty but also the critical role of newspapers as a repository of information.

He admired Ajero for his professionalism and dedication to his work.

“He loved tsismis but he never let that get in the way of telling the truth from all sides. He also made sure everything worth writing about is written about, even if they happened days ago. ‘One of the duties of the newspaper,’ he would tell me, ‘is to keep a record of events so that future generations can see and learn from them. it won’t matter a hundred years from now if our news today is a little late,’” he said.

He said he would be remembered for the lessons that “he taught in this school called life.”

“He also taught me (by example) not to sweat the small stuff, to take things in stride, and even to laugh at ourselves for our mistakes. He was the ultimate ‘big picture’ guy who never seemed perturbed by what was happening around him,” he said.

Jenny Mendoza, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao information officer who worked as a reporter of SunStar Davao, said she is grateful to Ajero for “showering us with utmost love, compliments and practical advice.”

“I’m forever grateful to have you as my ‘daddy,’ not only in the Davao media but also in my personal life. As I recount all the fond memories I had with you, from being a cub reporter to getting where I am today, I always felt loved whenever you’d call me ‘anak,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)


Source: Mindanao Times (