2 Mindanao orgs win Titus Brandsma special citation for community communication

Given special citations are KKINAMATA (Kisanday- Kilabagon- Narokdokan Manobo Talaandig Tribe Association) of Brgy. Kisanday, Maramag, Bukidnon for the use of traditional and modern media in their struggle for life and ancestral domain and the community radio station DXUP- FM of Upi, Maguindanao for the promotion of peace and inter-faith dialogue.

The Titus Brandsma Award-Philippines is the local version of the international Titus Brandsma Award given by the Union Catholique Internationale dela Presse (UCIP). It gives recognition to outstanding print and broadcast journalists that best embody the principles of Titus Brandsma.  Past awardees were  Conrado de Quiros, columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Luchi Cruz- Valdez of ABS-CBN and MindaNews’ Carolyn O. Arguillas and Patricio Diaz.

The awards body opted to give this year’s awards to communities instead of individual, Fr. Christian B. Buenafe, O.Carm, Executive Director of the Titus Brandsma Center- Media Program said in a press statement. .

KKINAMATA is an indigenous people’s organization of the Manobo Talaandig tribe which claims to have been marginalized by the Central Mindanao University but are standing up against all forms of injustice and land grabbing and continues to struggle for their ancestral domain. KKINAMATA has an open and good relations with the LGU, the Church, NGOs and media groups.  The members still practice traditional media (dances, rituals, songs, gongs, storytelling, among others) and the modern media (electronic, radio, mobile phone, DVD, among others).  They also made use of blackboard news, streamers, fliers as ways and means in information in the pursuit of community building.  The Tribe’s Council of Elders is made up of men elders with a woman chieftain. 

UP in DXUP  in Upi, Maguindanao stands for “Upi for Peace.” The radio station is run and managed by the Community Media Education Council (CMEC), a multisectoral group that decides on the radio programs.  DXUP-`FM staff members work as  volunteers while the LGU supports them by  providing honoraria.  It is the channel for information and exchanges among the residents of Upi and its  neighboring municipalities.  It is also for the promotion of peace, harmony and inter- faith dialogue among the Moslems, Christians and IPs particularly the Tedurays.

This year’s Awards Jury, composed of Vergel Santos, Jose Torres, Jr., Anthony Roman, Dr. Nymia Pimentel-Simbulan and Fr. Reynold Caigoy, O.Carm. unanimously selected ZOTO during their deliberation last January 17, 2007 and was confirmed by the Titus Brandsma Award- Philippines Board and  the Order of Carmelites in the Philippines.

ZOTO was founded in 1970 when the informal settlers at the Tondo Foreshore Land were to be demolished in favor of IMF/World Bank projects.  To ward off eviction the residents organized themselves and thus ZOTO was born.  Until today the organization continue its fight for a decent housing for the poor, the press statement from Titus Brandsma read.

The winner will receive a statuette of the Blessed Titus Brandsma made by National Artist Napoleon Abueva and a humble cash gift.  The awarding ceremonies will be held on March 22 at 11 in the morning at the Titus Brandsma Center in  New Manila, Quezon City.

Blessed Titus Brandsma was a Dutch Carmelite priest, journalist and educator, a staunch  critic of the Nazis during the Second World War.  He denounced the Nazi ideology and defended press freedom and the right to education.  It cost him his life – he was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo.  He died at Dachau Concentration Camp on July 26, 1942.  He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 3, 1985.