CFA History

Fr. Cor Lagerwey, MSC, the founder of Communication Foundation for Asia.

Fr. Cornelio Lagerwey, MSC, the founder of Communication Foundation for Asia.

1954 Dutch missionary Cornelio Lagerwey arrives in the Philippines on his way to Indonesia. He is given a temporary assignment to organize catechism classes for public school children in a Nueva Ecija parish in Central Luzon. He ends up staying in the country.

1957 While raising funds for his work, Fr Lagerwey meets young journalist Genaro V. Ong, who becomes his soul partner in his dream of establishing a center for social communications.

1960 Launching of the Philippine Catholic Digest.

1965 Incorporation of the mother institution, the Social Communications Center, which goes on to produce many socially relevant publications and radio and TV programs.

1968 Establishment of Ang Tao Foundation, later known as the Social Communications Center Development and Research Foundation (SCC-DRF), a private non-stock, non-profit organization. This becomes the Communication Foundation for Asia in 1975.

1972 Declaration of martial law. Fr Lagerwey and SCC top executives are arrested and SCC is closed for some time. Its license to publish is revoked.

1973 Even under martial law restrictions, the SCC Development and Research Foundation launches new development communications programs for social reform. In 1975, SCC-DRF changes its name to the Communication Foundation for Asia to better reflect its plan to become a production and training center that can serve the region.

1974 CFA produces its first full-length movie, Batingaw, on the theme of responsible parenthood — the first developmental film released commercially.

That same year CFA produces Panginorin, its first daily developmental radio drama series. Aired on DZRH, it reaches No.1 in audience ratings. It is also the first radio soap opera to become the subject of a comprehensive international research study, conducted by Dr. Paul Hartmann of Leicester University, UK.

1978 Inauguration of a new center for CFA, offering new facilities and programs for training, publications, radio and television.

1979 In the “International Year of the Child,” CFA publishes its first monthly magazine for children — Pambata. The following year, Gospel Komiks is launched. CFA also produces a puppet series, Batang Pinoy, the first in its long line of TV programs for children. On radio, CFA launches Isang Dipa … Langit, which later becomes its most popular and longest running series on DZRH (until 1994).

Also in 1979, the Flying Team Project is launched after an international seminar on Paolo Freire’s pedagogical approach to communication. It is an ambitious initiative to train eight development workers in various communication skills so that they could go out and train community leaders in the field.

1981 CFA starts publication of a series of training manuals on various development communication topics, including Philippine Mass Media, Radio Scriptwriting, Communication Research, Soundslides as Group Media, and others

1983 CFA organizes its first regional conference on Television Awareness Training, with a resource person from the TAT group in the US. This leads the way for CFA to launch subsequent Media Education workshops.

Also in 1983 CFA produces (and distributes on videotape) 11 Days in August — a special documentary on the phenomenal public response to the assassination of former Senator Ninoy Aquino. (The historic event went mostly unreported in the controlled mass media.)

1984 CFA produces Sugat Sa Ugat, a full-length feature film on agrarian reform. It is selected as an entry to the Berlin Film Festival.

1986 The events leading to People Power are captured by CFA on video —  from the snap elections to the EDSA uprising and the installation of Cory Aquino as president. The documentary People Power: The Philippine Experience is aired on two TV networks nationwide and sells several thousand video copies.

1990 CFA organizes the first National Congress on Development Communication, attended by 70 devcom practitioners and academics.

Also that year, CFA organizes the first National Catechetical Congress. It forms the National Media Center for Catechesis the year after.

1995 CFA founder Cornelio Lagerwey passes away.

1998 The Gospel Komiks Magazine is launched (as a separate title from Gospel Komiks for elementary schools), intended for the high school audience. Today it is CFA’s biggest-selling magazine.

2004 CFA decides on new strategic plans and identifies new priority themes for 2005-09: poverty alleviation, citizenship education and environmental protection.

2005 CFA launches a two-year series of communication seminars for diocesan media directors in cooperation with the CBCP Commission on Social Communication and Media.

Also that year, CFA, in cooperation with various women’s groups in the country, organizes its first ever Film Festival to celebrate the Feminist Centennial Year in the Philippines.

2006 CFA upgrades its radio and TV studios and acquires new digital equipment in preparation for new production and training projects.

Also in 2006, CFA conducts a Peace Festival for Christian and Muslim children, to be followed by workshops, video production and a nationwide exhibit of children’s art in 2007-08.

DevCom Articles

Who We Are

Communication Foundation for Asia is a pioneer in development communication. It was established in 1968 as a non-stock, non-profit organization, but its origins go way back to 1960, when the Social Communications Center was born with the publication of the Philippine Catholic Digest. Both organizations were founded by the Dutch missionary, Fr Cornelio Lagerwey, MSC, in collaboration with his mission partner Genaro V. Ong.

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Where We Are

Communication Foundation for Asia
4427 Old Sta. Mesa Street
Sta. Mesa, Manila 1016
Phone: (632) 713-2981 to 84
Fax: (632) 713-2732