Harry Gasser was proud of his Cebuano roots

Philippine Daily Inquirer April 07,2014 - 10:50 AM

Tributes continue to pour for the late Cebuano broadcast news icon Harry Gasser.

Gasser died of a heart attack on Thursday morning in a hospital in Quezon City. He was 76. His remains were cremated yesterday morning.

Gasser appeared on the news program Balita Ngayon on ABS-CBN from 1969 to 1972, and on BBC Primetime News on Banahaw Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) Channel 2 from 1973 to 1977.

He transferred to Radio Philippines Network (RPN) Channel 9 in 1975 and became the anchor of NewsWatch until 1999. From 1999 to 2007, he was anchor of TV Patrol Central Visayas.

He also worked with Radio Veritas as news manager.

Cebu’s top broadcast journalists considered the late anchorman as their “idol” and mentor at the time competition between TV networks in the local news scene started to heat up.

“Harry Gasser is truly a broadcast icon. I was a huge fan,” said Leo Lastimosa, lead anchor of TV Patrol Central Visayas.

Bobby Nalzaro, anchor of GMA-7’s Balitang Bisdak, also had high praises for the Carcar native.

“He was my idol when I was a neophyte in the media way back in my Zamboanga days in the ‘80s until I personally met him here during his short stint at ABS-CBN,” he said.

Lastimosa, on the other hand, said that it was a privilege for him to have worked with Gasser at ABS-CBN Cebu. “He did not lecture. He just showed us. He was punctual, diligent, enthusiastic and grounded. He will be sorely missed,” Lastimosa told Cebu Daily News.

Lastimosa explained that Gasser was the type of person who does “not tell them to do things (his way)”.  “He showed us how to be good broadcast journalists,” he added.
humble personality

Nalzaro cited Gasser’s humble personality  which he said helped strengthen camaraderie among media practitioners in Cebu.

“He was considered as a pillar in the industry being also a true blooded Cebuano,” Nalzaro said.

“Despite his successes, he was down to earth…we had several jamming and bonding sessions,” he added.

Sen. Loren Legarda, who co-anchored NewsWatch with Gasser on RPN-9, noted that “he was a proud Cebuano.”

“Harry was the face of NewsWatch, but more than that, he was an icon in Philippine broadcast media. He was a well-respected news anchor and he was a proud Cebuano. Harry will surely be missed,” she added.

The senator lamented that two of her esteemed former colleagues had now passed on in the last two years.

“I am sad that after Angelo Castro, Jr., now it is Harry. My two co-anchors, two of the most respected and great broadcasters in the country, are gone in a span of two years,” said Legarda who co-anchored ABS-CBN’s The World Tonight with Castro in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Actress and radio commentator Boots Anson-Roa, chairman of the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation, said Gasser “was perhaps the last of the true-blue dyed-in-the-wool broadcast journalists of the ’60s to the ’90s. He held his public in high esteem alongside the equally revered Joey Lardizabal, Phil Delfino, Angelo Castro Jr., Ernie Zarate, Bong Lapira, Jose Mari Velez and Dong Puno.”

Columnist and former congressman Teddy Boy Locsin tweeted that Gasser was “a journalist who kept his integrity and dignity when the only news was what the government said and did.”

“So young, how sad; and why wasn’t he kept on the news? At least he spoke a civilized language,” Locsin added.

ABS-CBN radio commentator Julius Babao, who presented Gasser with a Lifetime Achievement award given by the Philippine Movie Press Club, considered him a childhood hero and called him the “Walter Cronkite of the Philippines”.

“I grew up watching him do the newscast on RPN 9. Our TV was always glued to NewsWatch. Whenever we hear his voice, it was our cue that our dinner was already on the table. He is an inspiration not only to me, but to the people who knew him. We worked with him and grew up watching him on TV,” he added in another tweet.

Related Story:

Harry Gasser passes on

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