Award-winning journalist Jose ‘Joe’ Torres, Jr. took his oath as the new director-general of the Philippine Information Agency on Tuesday(May 23) after he was named to the post by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
(Photo Courtesy)

TACLOBAN CITY-President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has appointed Jose “Joe” Torres Jr., an award-winning journalist and two-time National Book Award recipient, as the new director-general of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

“I am grateful to President Marcos for the opportunity and the privilege to serve the country in these trying times of misinformation and disinformation,” said Torres on Tuesday (May 23).

Torres, who is known for his “exceptional investigative reporting and work in new media”, is expected to strengthen PIA’s mission of disseminating information about government programs, projects, and services to the Filipino public.

He replaced Ramon Cualoping III who was appointed to the post by then President Rodrigo Duterte but reappointed to the same post by Marcos on July 7, 2022.

Torres brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his new role.

PIA serves as the country’s primary information arm, with a network spanning 16 regional offices and 78 provincial information centers.

According to Torres, the agency’s mandate is to empower Filipinos by providing them with accurate and timely information, enabling them to actively participate in the nation’s democratic processes.

Torres started his journalism career as a writer for the alternative news service Philippine News and Features in the late 1980s.

In the early 1990s, his groundbreaking reporting, later published into the book “Into the Mountain: Hostaged by the Abu Sayyaf,” shed light on the activities of the notorious bandit group in the southern Philippines.

Torres has also worked for various media outlets, both in the Philippines and abroad.
He served as a sub-editor for Saudi Gazette, the national newspaper of Saudi Arabia, as an investigative reporter for the now-defunct Isyu newsmagazine, and wrote for The Manila Times, The Philippine Post, and The Sunday Paper.

Recognizing the importance of online journalism, Torres joined ABS-CBN’s online platform in 2001. He later played a pivotal role in the establishment of GMA News’s online presence in 2005. He also set up the online version of the tabloid Remate in 2009.

In 2010, he joined the Bangkok-based Union of Catholic Asian News as its managing editor. He later became editor-at-large for, a Church news agency based in Bangkok, and served as member of the editorial board of Radio Veritas Asia in 2018.

Torres’s dedication to his craft has earned him numerous awards and recognitions, including a citation in the 2004 International Tolerance Prize for his article on Filipino Muslims titled “Troubled Return of the Faithful.”

His piece “The Making of a Mindanao Mafia” was awarded 3rd Prize in the Jaime V Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism in 2004.

Torres finished Philosophy at the University of Santo Tomas. Thereafter, he took up units of Theology at the Ateneo de Manila University.