Did you know that back in 1971, a PCC/PUP AdPr student by the name of Jaime FlorCruz flew to China for a three-week study tour along with 14 fellow students, but got stuck for many years in said country after the bombing of Plaza Miranda?
Said incident led former President Ferdinand Marcos to suspend the privilege of habeas corpus, allowing him to arrest opposition figures without warrants. Those he could not arrest, he simply blacklisted, including FlorCruz and four others in the Philippine Youth Delegation invited by the China Friendship Association.
Young Jaime never thought he would be staying in China for 12 years. He was so homesick and could not even speak Chinese back then. He had no friends except his small group.
Learning Mandarin, however, opened the path to a career. He was still a senior student in China when he became an accidental journalist. Newsweek needed bilingual news assistants so he started working there part-time, doing research, filing and clipping news. Eventually, he was given bigger tasks. Upon graduation, he was given a break as a full time reporter in Time.
Although FlorCruz had the option of going back to the Philippines by that time, he decided to stay in China since he had a budding career in Journalism. And since Marcos was still president, he knew he was not entirely safe from being arrested.
FlorCruz admits to being one of the “Tunay, Palaban, Makabayan” students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) which was Philippine College of Commerce (PCC) back then. He was also editor-in-chief of their college paper and an active member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines and the League of Editors for Democratic Society. They were branded as activists for expressing their views against the Vietnam war. They lobbied for land reform and spoke against corruption and official abuse.
Jaime FlorCruz was also given the opportunity to serve as CNN Beijing Correspondent and Bureau Chief while in China before. Currently, he is a Professor at Peking University.
When asked for a special message for PUP-COC on its 18th foundation celebration, this was what FlorCruz said, “So here goes my short and sweet message…Wherever we may be, in whatever posts we hold, fellow alumni of PUP’s *College of Advertising (*currently Department of Advertising and Public Relations under the College of Communication) remain inspired by our alma mater’s tradition of nurturing intellectual inquiry, creativity, critical thinking and social relevance. Congratulations on our college anniversary!”