Inquirer launches partnership with Bicol Mail, 7 local papers

The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) has launched on Monday, Mar. 29, a partnership with Bicol Mail and seven other local newspapers across the country through a shared digital platform using the Inquirer Plus app that readers can access online.


Dubbed the Inquirer News Initiative (INI), it offers a subscription package where Inquirer Plus – PDI’s digital edition – comes with a choice of any of the following local papers: Bicol Mail; The Ilocos Times; Palawan News; Panay News; The Bohol Chronicle; Visayan Daily Star; Mindanao Gold Star Daily; and Edge Davao.

Lawyer Rudyard S. Arbolado, PDI president and chief executive officer, said that through the INI, the digital versions of these local publications formed part of a subscription bundle that readers can select via the e-commerce store Inquirer Shop.


A bundle entitles the subscriber to Inquirer Plus and one local paper of their choice.


“The local newspapers we selected have been with their communities for a very long time. There are local papers now being handled by second or even third-generation owners. So we have trust factor among readers as an advantage. Inquirer editors were also consulted in the selection of the local papers that we have forged alliances with.”


Bicol Mail was originally founded in 1953 by Leon Sa. Aureus, a journalist, guerilla leader and the first mayor of Naga City. It earned respect for outstanding journalistic craftmanship. The paper was awarded in 1960 as “the best edited provincial newspaper of the Philippines”. It closed shop in 1972 when Martial Law was declared.


On June 18, 2003, almost 31 years after Bicol Mail folded up, relatives of the founding publisher led by civic-business leader Nilo P. Aureus, owner and general manager of Gold Print Publishing House, decided to revive the weekly newspaper.


Now on its 18th year of regularly publication, Bicol Mail is the region’s leading community newspaper. It is known as Bicolandia’s only regional newspaper.


Bicol Mail publisher Nilo Aureus expressed his elation with the partnership. “We hope to expand the reach of Bicol Mail through INI.


PDI’s national sales manager Roy Raul Mendiola said that readers of printed local papers in the provinces usually buy a national newspaper and a local one.


INI hopes to replicate this “brick -and-mortar behavior,” through a digital platform, Arbolado said.


He said the digital subscription bundle is not only for readers who prefer to read news online but it also aims to serve those with limited access to hard copies of their local papers especially for those living abroad.


Arbolado also said that the partnership between Inquirer and the eight local newspapers is the former’s way of “helping journalism, especially local journalism, flourish in the multimedia age.”


“By ensuring that local journalism thrives, we help safeguard the continued empowerment of an informed citizenry. The Inquirer News Initiative is also an acknowledgment that this [is] best achieved with PDI and the local newspapers working hand in hand. As one lifts itself, it lifts others, too. Our futures are intertwined and together we are stronger,” he added.


“At the moment, what we have (as a subscription bundle) is ‘PDI plus Bicol Mail’ or ‘PDI plus Mindanao Gold Star Daily,’ etc.—one specific local paper,” Arbolado explained.


One’s location is not a factor. “If you are in Iloilo but you want the Bicolano local news, you can subscribe to that; no problem.”


Before INI’s formal launching on Mar. 29, agreements were signed with PDI’s president and the publishers of the local papers. Then a series of meetings we conducted with the editors of partner newspapers, namely Ed Yu (editor in chief, Bicol Mail), Redempto Anda (editor in chief, Palawan News), Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo (president and chair, Panay News), Efren Ramos Jr. (editor in chief, The Ilocos Times), Antonio Ajero (editor in chief, Edge Davao), Peter Dejaresco (chair, Bohol Chronicle), Ernesto Chu (president emeritus and founder, Mindanao Gold Star Daily) and Ninfa Leonardia (editor in chief and president, The Visayan Daily Star).

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To access Inquirer Plus through the Inquirer Shop, scan the code from the virtual store or type inq.news/INI. Fill in the information required (name, email address, mobile number). Once the account is activated (expected within 24 hours), a notification that includes the login credentials will be sent to the subscriber through email. Upgrades and changes of passwords can only be done via the web/desktop.