December 8, 2023

In the world of journalism, “writes 30” means the end of something.
The mark “-30-” has been traditionally used by journalists in the United States of America to indicate the end of a story or article that is submitted for editing and typesetting. It is commonly employed when writing on deadline and sending bits of the story at a time, via telegraphy, teletype, electronic transmission, or paper copy, as a necessary way to indicate the end of the article. It is also found at the end of press releases.
Thus, when a mediaman, particularly a journalist, dies, they say he “writes 30” and Filipino veteran journalist Roberto “Bobby” Gacusana Burgos just wrote his closing press briefer. He peacefully joined his Creator on Sept. 10 at age 79.
Bobby was a hard-hitting reporter but compassionate in his dealings with fellow journalists with the likes of Eliral “Pedped” Refuerzo, Thom Picaña, Romy Gonzales, and the rest of the brat pack, taking care of all the chits at Chongloy’s Luisa’s Café or then Pinaccle Bar with RD George Aliño.
Whenever I make “sundo” former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada at the airport, he would always ask where Bobby was and made sure that he will be around for our Johnny Walker blue or red wine drinking sprees at his house or at The Manor of Camp John Hay.
Bobby had opted to relocate in Baguio City almost a decade and a half ago. Ultimately, he found his place here and became past president of the Rotary Club of Downtown Session, a member of Delta Com (Disasters Emergencies Land Traffic Assistance Communication Group), the PNP Press Corps-Cordillera, and proprietor of Burgos Ice.
Prior to his semi-retirement in Baguio City, he worked at the “We Forum” and the “Pahayagang Malaya”, which were both founded by his late brother, Jose G. Burgos Jr.
Bobby, who hailed from Vigan, Ilocos Sur, wrote for The Manila Standard where he introduced me to its editor, Cip Roxas; Manila Bulletin, and the defunct DYHP-Philippine Herald Group.
Bobby was president of the Philippine National Police Press Corps in the early ‘90s when then Col. Arturo Lomibao was the public information officer and an official of the Defense Press Corp.
He was also Baguio City bureau chief for the Journal Group of Publications, which his son, Raymond, chaired from 1998 to 2001; and a lifetime member of the National Press Club.
He was a staunch and loyal friend as shown by the roster of friends he can call anytime, anywhere – William Uy, Pedped, Erap, former Sen. Ping Lacson, Lito Banayo, former Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson, former President Fidel V. Ramos, and almost all chiefs and generals of the PNP from “hari-har” – Nazareno, Mendoza, and Wycoco.
Bobby was offered to be a Press undersecretary under Rod Reyes, but he opted to be a consultant at the Philippine Information Agency under Director General Joel Paredes during the Estrada administration, as he preferred to live in the City of Pines.
He lived his life to the fullest and like a true blue blooded mediaman and a gentleman of leisure, he enjoyed the booze and food.
With his passing, we share our burden of grief with his family and take comfort in the thought that from now on, there is no more pain for him.
He is now in a peaceful safe and happy place with his typewriter in tow and “wrote 30” to his life here in this world. Requiescat in Pace (RIP).
Hasta la vista, Bobby!