Herman "Ka Mentong" Tiu Laurel

Herman “Ka Mentong” Laurel, for many of his friends, listeners, and readers, is a champion for Philippines-China Understanding. He has been a major figure in fair and accurate reporting about the realities between the Philippines and China, as well as the global vision of China to build a better world for all peoples and the nations.

Ka Mentong sustained this creed of fair writing on issues related to China for over two decades. This has graduated to the persistent heightening of his commitment to truth in addressing the issues relevant to Philippine-China relations over the years even as the geopolitical situation worsened in the early 2010s.

This advocacy for truth and fairness relative to Philippine-China relations extended to Ka Mentong’s broadcast activities, bringing the message of understanding, harmony, and cooperation between the two countries to his TV and radio programs. In the mid-2010s, Ka Mentong produced a TV show entitled “Journeys” that focuses on the history of Philippine-China relations, Filipinos who had studied in China, and Chinese cultural performances.

His frequent guest in “Journeys” is the current Philippine ambassador-to-China, Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana, who explains the benefits of good relations with China and clarifies issues on the relationship that antipathetic elements have muddled. At one time, “Journeys” was covered by a Global Times reporter who presented the positive actions of some Filipinos towards the betterment of Philippine-China relations.

In his pursuit of providing better information on the issues of Philippine-China relations, Ka Mentong did not limit himself to activities in media. At the height of the controversies over the U.S. “Pivot to Asia” and the filing of the arbitration suit by the Aquino administration in the early 2010s, Mr. Laurel regularly gathered intellectuals, retired Philippine diplomats, politicians, and writers to discuss the issues and address the public with the right information.

Mr. Laurel organized, in coordination with other individuals, regular media and press forums to explain the issues to other media people. He also organized the Philippine BRICS Strategic Studies think tank that brings together familiar writers advocating the same message.

The Philippine BRICS Strategic Studies think tank was inspired by China’s advocacy and the establishment of the BRICS group that advocates for a multi-polar world structure. In 2019, Phil-BRICS organized a student symposium in Iloilo, intended to be the first of many others to follow. Unfortunately, these plans have been postponed due to the pandemic.

The efforts of Mr. Laurel have been instrumental in maintaining the balancing voice and information force that helped Filipino media to maintain the proper perspective on the issues and forestall premature negative conclusions among many in the Philippine public.
Before he became a journalist and broadcaster, Mr. Laurel was appointed to several government posts in the past decades. He headed the Philippine Government-UNHCR Philippine Refugee Processing Center project for several years and ran for senator in 1995.

Ka Mentong currently serves as the host of “Ang Maestro, The Unfinished Revolution” broadcasted by Radyo Pilipinas (RP1). He is also the host of an online podcast “Power Thinks” of the Global Talk News Radio (GTNR) streamlined in various social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube, and one of the hosts of a television show, “Opinyon Ngayon” aired in Golden Nations Network (GNN) every Friday.

His passion and conviction in promoting mutual understanding and good bilateral relations between the Philippines and China are reflective of his writings and commentaries. Most of his writings had helped clarify the truth about the South China Sea (SCS) dispute that has complicated the diplomatic relations between the two countries to an inconvenient degree until today.

At present, Ka-Mentong is a senior citizen and will be turning 70 in October this year. At his age, he is still writes several articles and maintains three TV, radio, and online broadcasts.