OBITUARY | Before becoming a PR icon, Max Edralin pushed frontiers of press freedom as a journalist


MAX EDRALIN, the Philippine public relations industry icon, is most remembered and admired for being a pillar of the PR sector, but in his earlier incarnation as a reporter, he braved detention in a landmark case that eventually boosted press protection in the country.

That chapter of his life bears recalling in a time when there is so much debate on whether or not there is press freedom in the country, and how various permutations of censorship or constraint are in constant friction with efforts of journalists to assert their freedom to report — and of people exercising their right to know.

Maximino J. Edralin Jr. died on Friday (October 15), his family announced. 

His daughter, Cherry Bong Edralin, in her Facebook account, said Max – or fondly known as “Manong Max” and “Nonoy” passed away at 1:51 pm on October 15. He was almost 90. 

Besides Cherry Bong, he is survived by his children and their spouses Linds & Chris, Andy & Nancy, Missy & Fritz, Bobby & Baby; grandchildren Cesca, Sam, Nicole, Ryan. Shannon, Karina, Kevin, Geoffrey and Kyarra; and great-grandson Noah.  

Born on November 25, 1931, Max’s work and sacrifice have led to one of the most revolutionary amendments to the country’s press laws. In 1955, Max – who was then still working for the Philippines Herald – was one of five reporters who stood their ground and were incarcerated for reporting on a murder case involving the most powerful member of the Cabinet of President Quirino, Oscar Castelo. 

They were eventually released and the case resulted in an amendment to the Sotto Law or press freedom law. Thanks to them, no court or government can force journalists to reveal the source of their information unless the issue involves national security.

Max has always had a character of standing up for what he believes in, even if this means he had to sacrifice something. 

In his interview with fellow PR man Bong Osorio for a column in the BusinessMirror in 2018, Max bared that he had to work to be able to go to college as a messenger boy and janitor in a newspaper where he ended up working for – the Philippines Herald

He was soon promoted to proofreader and later, a news reporter himself. However, he had to give up schooling to report for duty. 

Years and journeys later, he would become president of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP), a Gawad Panday awardee — the highest PR honor bestowed by the organization to an individual — and the only college dropout to become a vice president of a bank.

Aside from being a former vice president at Citibank, he also served at the country’s two BSPs – he was former national president of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) and a former PR consultant at the office of the governor at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). 

A few years leading up to his death, Max was still working for the country’s Central Bank. In his 80s, he was described by one of his colleagues as “still fit and quick-witted,” has a straight gait and does not take a single maintenance drug.

Anything he does with life, he does with passion and gusto.

Asked on PR handling and advice, Max told Osorio: “There must be a genuine liking for the job, for the one reason that you don’t count the hours when doing PR work. Aside from knowing the job, you must like people and be likable, as well.”

He wouldn’t worry about that now that he’s with his maker. As his daughter puts it, Max is now “lighting up Heaven with his wit, love of debate and dancing the boogie.”

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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