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Remembering Sammy Garcia

By Ernie Verdadero

To his numerous fans, teenagers and matrons alike, he was fondly called Yummy Sammy--- not for anything else in him but his famous golden and modulated voice.

At this time, even in his death, Sammy’s famous modulation is still heard daily in the intro and extro of the primetime programs in a very popular radio station in Bicolandia.

At 74, he died a contented father of four boys and ten grandkids living in far away Australia and in United States of America.

Sammy was an annual visitor of Naga frequenting SM Mall, old and new Kantong Putikon, to sip coffee with friends, fellow broadcasters and retirees and some politicians to discuss issues of the day, both political and apolitical.

As a dual citizen plus one, American, Pilipino and senior, he tried his hands in local politics to run for Naga City council in 2016, an Independent candidate but was allied with then presidential candidate Mayor Digong Duterte of Davao.

As expected he lost while Digong unexpectedly won. Sammy flew immediately back to New Jersey in East Coast USA. After the polls. Asked why he ran for councilor in Naga, he told me that he wanted to help Naga elevate politicians including media towards political maturity.

Actually, he didn’t expect to win but politics and the political campaign taught him the hard realities of his city and its people.

A product of Naga Parochial School, Holy Rosary Minor Seminary and the Ateneo de Naga University, after college graduation Sammy joined the broadcast industry in the late 60’s not in Bicol but in Metro Manila.

Top executives of the giant network that recruited him advised Sammy to adopt the name “Sammy Garcia” not his real name Samuel Jarcia Poloyapoy.

While in Metro Manila, Sammy’s name was already a household word there and in Bicol as well because of his yummy personality and stature.

Sammy was invited by peers in Bicol to come home in the mid 70’s and he became the production manager of DZDR Naga. As a second in command of DZDR together with local broadcasters Elmer Abad, Celso Baguio and Ernie Verdadero ( who he? ) organized in 1977 the Association of TV and Radio Announcers of Camarines Sur (ATRACS ) to help professionalize the working broadcasters, promote camaraderie among practitioners and help improve their income as broadcasting personnel.

All broadcasters in the province, in Naga and in Iriga City, joined the hyper active organization under the leadership of Sammy as the founding ATRACS president. They were inducted in the same year at the ABS CBN auditorium as officers and members. Atty. Henry Briguera was elected chairman of the board, the late Atty. Roger Tormes was the legal counsel.

Considering his executive abilities, leadership and mass popularity Sammy was plucked from DZDR and ATRACS to become a stalwart of the Office of the media Affairs in Legazpi as well as in Metro Manila.

At OMA he work feverishly to open the Radyo ng Bayan station in Naga. Naturally, he was appointed as station manager.

The other media work that Sammy was involved in other than as chief of Radio ng Bayan Naga, he was also at various times appointed manager of DWEB-FM and GMA Barangayan Radio, FM.

Sammy was elected chairmen of KBP Camarines Sur not once or twice but thrice. Many young broadcasters paid homage to him not to acquire Sammy’s golden voice but to seek his personal advice and to familiarize with the ropes of broadcasting work.

He was well-loved by his peers because of his smiling personality and humility.

He succumbed to throat cancer or cancer of the esophagus last April 22, 2022 in a hospital in New Jersy. Various masses were held that were viewed online worldwide in loving memory of Sammy Garcia.

His remains were immediately cremated and according to relatives in Naga his urn will be brought back to Naga soon and preparations for the welcome ceremonies by KBP, ATRACS, family members, fans and friends are underway. When the remains will arrive in Naga is still unknown at this time.

Good bye Yummy Sammy---EGV…


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