By Carmelle Marie Harrow
Friday, November 4, 2011
WE HARDLY forget our first love, may it be a person, a place or one’s profession, and for Jenielito S. Atillo or Sir Dodong Atillo, being a broadcaster is his first love.
He keeps coming back to broadcasting though he has tons of work in the Department of Education (Deped) 11 Regional Office, as the information officer and as an Education Program Supervisor. He is now with One Radio-Ang radio ni Juan, an FM band that has an AM format.
Dili pa jud full blast ang airing pero (Operation is not yet full-blast), we are conceptualizing everything, Atillo said.
Atillo was born and raised in Davao City, he is the son of Paulito and Adoracion Atillo, now married to Clara Cabunilas Atillo with whom he has two boys, Clyde Jeniel, who is taking up education and Christian Jay, who is still in High School.
“I cannot forget the time when I was away for two months because of work; and you know when you are in the media you have to be in one place at extended period of time. When I came back, I rang the doorbell and my eldest son Clyde was outside and she called for his mom and said: Ma, naay tao (Mom, someone’s outside)? My tears came pouring down. This is the time I realized I have to let go of my first love to have my children near me,” Atillo said.
From humble beginnings, he graduated elementary from Lapu-lapu Elementary School and went to Holy Cross of Sasa for high school where he became the President of the Student Body in his Senior Year.
That was my first and last stint in politics, Atillo said, although he admits his greatest dream is to be a lawyer.
A member of the University of Mindanao’s Student Training Assistance Program (students who work with UM for their scholarship), he pursued his degree in Bachelor of Arts in Political Science while working in the library for a year.
When DXUM held an audition for reporters, he grabbed the opportunity. Though he would’ve loved to be a disc jockey, he felt that it was not his time to shine.
He started as a police reporter, became a news writer, and later on became a newscaster.
He was also with DXOW and in DXDC where he was a commentator; he was one of the pioneering broadcasters of DXAB of ABS-CBN.
While in DXAB, he started to earn units for Education and he decided to resign and took up the challenge to be a part of Radio Mindanao Network or DXMB in General Santos City.
“We wanted to bring to Gensan the ‘Davao thing,’ we introduced the Davao’s way of broadcasting in Gensan. Nag-click naman for so short a time,” Atillo said.
He added that he earned a lot of friends when he was in media, but he also gained numerous enemies.
“I was working for my family, pero delikado ang trabaho. There came a time that we cannot go out of the station, so I thought of resigning,” Atillo said.
“Napugos ko ug take ug board, wala jud ko’y interest ma-maestro (I was not interested to be a teacher). But this was the time when my life was in danger, you really do not know who you’re enemies were,” Atillo said.
This was also his promise to his family; he will be resigning from work, if he passed the board exam for teachers.
“I passed. Naglagot pa ko first kay nakapasa ko pero tungod sa akong promise sa akong pamilya nga mag-resign ko I did it (I was not happy when I passed but because of my promise to my family, I resigned). I did not know if I will easily find a job once I came back to Davao,” Atillo said.
Superintendents Dionisio Abitong and Goria Labor gave him his first break.
“They were the gatekeepers sa akong success. This was all part of God’s plan,” Atillo said.
For almost 12 years, Atillo worked as the information officer for Deped Division office. Now, he is still information officer, but with the Regional Office.
When he started off, he called his friends in media and asked for their help and said that in order for the department to work at its best, it is also good to highlight the productivity of the department.
“Na-wrestle namu ang (We met the) challenge through the help of those who believed in us,” Atillo said.
Sir Dodong He admits that when he was still with the media, he had to put up a brave front for the radio program and listeners but he was not that brave.
“My kids were still so small that I can never think of leaving them. After every program, nagkadaghan imong kalaban (you gain more enemies). It was a futile effort na for me,” Atillo said.
He longed to be with his family. After the incident where he cried his eyes out because his eldest did not recognize him, he realized that it is not enough to provide your children financially, what they need is his presence.
But he salutes his colleagues in the media because he knows that being in the industry is very difficult.
“Gikan nako diha, I know how difficult it is for them. Tagaan pud unta ug dugang attention, ug dakong bili ang mediamen sa atong government, kay ang media, they are the bastion, shield sa mga katawhan (I came from there. Government should also give attention and value to mediamen because the industry is the bastikon and shield of the people),” Atillo said.
He added that he feels deeply saddened when media practitioners loss their credibility and fall prey to bribery.
“Daghan ang wala na nagstand firm sa ilang ground tungod sa kalisod pero ang importante magbag-o na sa mga bagong mga media practitioners (Many have given up credibility because of financial constraints, but what’s impotant is that this is being reformed by the new media practitioners),” Atillo said.
“Mawala man ko sa kong pagkamaestro, ang akong first love nga pagka-broadcaster and being a media practitioner, dili na siya mawala. Dili ko mawala (Even if I leave the teaching profession, my love for broadcast will remain),” Atillo said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 05, 2011.