|The Antonio Zumel Center for Press Freedom|
|Monday, 20 February 2006 21:11|
The foundation is an initiative of the family, friends and confreres of the late Filipino journalist, political exile and modern-day revolutionary, Antonio "Manong" Zumel, to continue his legacy in promoting and defending press freedom.
Tony was an outstanding newspaperman, trade unionist and activist. Starting from a mere copyboy in the Philippines Herald in 1949, Tony became an editor and union officer of the Manila Daily Bulletin. He became a two-time National Press Club president from 1969 to 1971. During his term as NPC president, Tony defended the staff members of the Dumaguete Times who were arrested on suspicion of subversion by Marcos. He also came to the rescue of Quintin Yuyitung and his brother Rizal, publisher and editor-in-chief, respectively, of the Chinese Commercial News in Manila. He opened the doors of the NPC to mass activists and aligned the NPC with the people's movement then.
When Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus, Tony helped establish the Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties (MCCCL), headed by the late Senator Jose W. Diokno.
Together with other journalists, Tony put out a progressive publication for mass media, Tingga. He served as chairman of the Amado V. Hernandez Memorial Foundation. He also became a member of the first Preparatory Commission of the National Democratic Front in 1971. He helped established the Association of Philippine-China Understanding.
When Marcos declared martial law in September 1972, Tony joined the revolutionary underground movement, helping to publish two underground papers - Liberation, the official organ of the NDF and Balita ng Malayang Pilipinas (News of Free Philippines).
In 1986, when Marcos was overthrown by people power, Tony surfaced together with fellow journalists Satur Ocampo and Bobbie Malay, to become the NDFP's peace negotiators with the Aquino government.
In 1989, Tony went abroad to act as adviser to the NDFP Peace Negotiating Panel and to seek support for the peace talks. While in political exile, Tony continued to write, work for the defense of press freedom, represent the Filipino people's movement, edited Liberation International, and became senior adviser to the NDFP Negotiating Panel. He shared his knowledge and experience as a veteran journalist to budding writers and community newspapers in Europe.
Tony was elected chairman of the NDFP in 1990 in absentia, and was elected honorary chairman of the NDFP in 1994. On Aug. 13, 2001, three days after his 69th birthday, Tony died in exile after suffering from heart and kidney problems.
Goals of the AZCPF
He never wrote 30 is documentary film that gives us a glimpse into the life of Antonio Zumel. Please click here to watch the two-part video.