PHOTO AT  LEFT - Ambassador Preciosa S. Soliven (second from left), widow of the late STAR publisher Max V. Soliven, poses with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim (second from right) and the publisher’s siblings Victorio and Ethel after the unveiling of a monument in honor of Mr. Soliven in Manila’s Baywalk yesterday. MIKE AMOROSO]

MANILA, NOVEMBER 25, 2008 (STAR) By Cheeko Ruiz -  Exactly two years to the day he wrote 30, another tribute was offered for journalism icon Max V. Soliven.

His statue was unveiled yesterday afternoon at the Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard in Manila, right across the Aristocrat restaurant which became a witness to several major events in his life.

The unveiling of the monument sculpted by Julie Lluch was witnessed by Soliven’s family, the public and his closest friends, including diplomats and past and present government officials, among them former vice president Teofisto Guingona and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.

His widow Preciosa relates that when the idea to build a statue in honor of her husband was suggested to her by Lim, she said, “If it’s along Roxas Boulevard, I’d want it to be across the Aristocrat restaurant because it is where we dated.”

His brother Guillermo Soliven said in his speech it is their family’s fervent wish that those who will pass by the monument will be inspired “to always seek what is right, to fight for what they know is right.”

“Our father, a distinguished politician, made Manong Max swear never to enter politics and instead, find his own star. So he chose journalism and started as a police reporter,” Guillermo shares.

But that was just the start. Soliven soon became a household name as he went on to become “a freedom fighter, a fearless journalist” who used his pen relentlessly to right a wrong and take erring officials to task.

At 20, he became the associate editor of the Catholic newspaper The Sentinel and was a police and political reporter for the Manila Chronicle at the age of 25. Later, he became the business editor of The Manila Times from 1957 to 1960.

At the age of 27, he was the publisher and editor of The Evening News, which had the second highest circulation in the country in 1960. He also spent more than 12 years as foreign correspondent, covering events such as the Vietnam War, the 1968 Tet Offensive, and the Gestapu Coup in Indonesia in 1965.

Soliven’s work here and abroad earned him the rank of Chevalier (knight) of the National Order of Merit of France, which was presented to him in 1991 by French President Francois Mitterand. He was also given Spain’s most coveted decorations in 2000, the rank of Encomendero de la Orden Isabel la Catolica, from Spanish King Juan Carlos. Likewise, he was named Journalist of the Year by the National Press Club.

Soliven co-founded the Philippine Daily Inquirer and then The Philippine STAR where he served as publisher until his death.

His daily column published in The STAR titled “By the Way” was one of the most widely read newspaper columns in the Philippines.

As Soliven always said, “Change can come, change will come,” Guillermo added.  

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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