We, Davao community of journalists, mourn today the passing of our colleague Antonio “Tony” Ajero, publisher and editor of the prestigious business publication – the Edge Davao. He left for his next journey so quietly early dawn Sunday. By daybreak, however, there was a shockwave hitting us like a thunderbolt as the eminent journalist of Davao has gone to the great beyond.
Tony and I belong to the batch of print and broadcast media that experienced what it was during the aegis of martial law, the divisiveness and casualties spawned by separatists conflicts, the rise and viciousness and the fall the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New Peoples Army, the rise of Marcos in the apogee of power and witnessed its fall. The emergence of the Aquino regime and watched this wither and lost its clout with the rise of our own Rodrigo Roa Duterte. We are about to witness the unfolding of the next chapter of the new era of leadership under Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and Inday Sara Duterte but Tony will have to watch that from where he is today.
While Tony and I were together in the vagaries of journalism he is outstandingly eminent. He was editor of the Mindanao Collegian of the Mindanao Colleges (now University of Mindanao) where both of us graduated. He went on to work with the University of Mindanao Broadcasting network as news editor and writer rolled into one. Later he became the station manager. We both were correspondents of the Philippine News Service, now PNA. I was program and news writer, program director and news reader of DXDC and TV-13 also rolled into one, but Tony is always tops.
We were both delegates to an international forum on “Nationalism and International Understanding” in Tokyo, Japan and in South Korea. We were also together in Beijing when China launched the “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) now referred to as BRI, which was attended by journalists all over the world.
Again we were invited by China to a cross country visit where we had the singular honor to see how the network of railways and train schedules are managed in one central control station. We then moved around riding in speed trains across modern cities, verdant fields, modern infrastructures and bridges which Tony described as awe-inspiring.
Tony is the leader of the Davao press. His initials AMA defines him. He is addressed by the younger generations of Davao journalists as “Daddy Cool”. He tutors every budding writer in the art of journalism. He is as articulate in extemporaneous speech as he is in his written craft.
Such is the quality of a true blue journalist in Tony and I am in the askance why all these years the Datu Bago Award Committee failed to recognize the accomplishments and contribution of AMA in Davao City’s field of journalism. A posthumous award should correct that.
Tony is gone and we will all miss him. But he will be with us because he has left enumerable memories, lessons in life and the craft where he excelled and tutored us all.
To my friend and compadre Tony, I could have written this in tears but like you there is the indelible ink that runs in our veins. Goodbye now is not farewell yet. Rest now my friend, my compadre. You will forever be in our hearts.