2 Mindanawons among 5 winners of Titus Brandsma Awards

QUEZON CITY (MindaNews/24 November) – The prestigious Titus Brandsma Awards is honoring five individuals this year, two of them Mindanawons: broadcast journalist Abner Francisco for Leadership in Community Communication and singer-songwriter Gary Granada for Leadership in Culture and Communication.

Francisco anchors the morning public service program over DXCA Charm Radio in Kidapawan City while Granada, now based in Laguna, was born in Maco, Compostela Valley, where he finished elementary and high school.

The other awardees are Yvonne Chua of VERA Files, for Leadership in Journalism; Fr. Fran-Josef Eilers, SVD for Leadership in Social Communication and Raymund Villanueva for Emerging Leadership in Journalism. The awarding ceremony is on November 27, at the Titus Brandsma Media Center in New Manila.

Initiated by the Titus Brandsma Media Center, a Carmelite Media Ministry, the Titus Brandsma Awards is a biennial award given to individuals and groups especially to journalists in print and broadcast media. The TBA is the local version of the international Titus Brandsma Award given by the Union Catholique Internationale dela’ Presse, the world forum of professionals in secular and religious media.

The Titus Brandsma Award Philippines honors Blessed Titus Brandsma, who was a Carmelite priest, journalist, educator and mystic who defended press freedom and the right to education during the Second World War even in the face of death. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 3, 1985 as a “Martyr of Press Freedom.”

Francisco, awardee for Leadership in Community Communication, has been hailed for his works not only as a journalist but also as a community catalyst and facilitator. He is known for uplifting the lives of the people in North Cotabato and Mindanao through his brand of innovative and participatory journalism.

Francisco is noted for his leadership and advocacy for good governance in the province being the convener of the Watchful Advocate for Transparent, Clean and Honest Governance (WATCH) North Cotabato.

Granada, awardee for Leadership in Culture and Communication, is an award-winning composer for his pop/folk music artistry. He is known for his songs like Salamat sa Musika, Kahit Konti, Mabuti Pa Sila, Saranggola sa Ulan, among others. A musical genius who produced jingles that became popular songs like Kapag Nananalo/Natatalo ang Ginebra, Iba na ang Pinoy, Alay Mo Buhay Ko, Bangon Na, Mag-impok sa Bangko,

Lakbayin Natin ang Pilipinas and Tagumpay Nating Lahat, Granada has also written books on teaching nationalism, globalization, women’s rights and intellectual property to students in the middle school up to college.

In his book which also includes chords and lyrics of his songs, Granada said he is first of all a teacher who happens to know about music. He taught at the University of the Philippines College of Development Communication and College Algebra at the UP Los Baños.

Fr. Eilers, a renowned speaker in different courses and workshops on social communication, culture and globalization is being awarded for Leadership in Social Communication for actively promoting communication in the church especially in today’s age of Internet and communication technology.

He is a professor of Social Communication and Missiology at the Divine Word School of Theology in Tagaytay City and University of Santo Tomas in Manila, and at the College of Development Communication of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, a Consultor of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications at the Vatican in Rome and author of books on Social Communication that animated not only the Church in Asia but all over the globe.

The multi-awarded Chua, co-founder of VERA Files and awardee for Leadership in Journalism, has lived the best of both worlds in media and the academe.

A journalism professor of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, Chua is also the co-founder of Vera Files, an online investigative news agency where she writes, edits and manages the website that discusses in-depth stories.

Her award-winning stories on corruption led to reforms in various government agencies Aside Chua was former managing editor of Malaya newspaper and was training director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. She has also edited and co-wrote books on investigative reporting while sharing her expertise as member of the editorial advisory board of Asia Pacific Media Educator, a refereed journal of the School of Journalism and Creative Writing of the University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.

She is a member of the Technical Committee for Journalism of the Commission on Higher Education and has been editorial consultant of Tulay Publication for 20 years.

Raymund Villanueva, awardee for Emerging Leadership in Journalism is the Director for Radio of Kodao Productions, Inc., a multimedia radio and production group that has won awards and citations from different award-giving bodies.

He is also a reporter and photojournalist of bulatlat.com. Villanueva has written articles on peace and conflict, disasters, human rights, social justice, among other issues in bulatlat.com and other outlets. His works include the story on the massacre of a Blaan family and photo essay on the Banwaon Children of Balit.

Titus Brandsma Awards  has recognized different individuals in the mainstream media for their exemplary works like Kara David and Howie Severino of GMA News, Patricia Evangelista of Rappler, Carolyn O. Arguillas of MindaNews.

Aside from Arguillas, another Mindanawon awardee is MindaNews columnist Patricio Diaz who was honored in 2002 with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his “commitment to education and public information to Mindanawons as Journalist, Educator and Peace Advocate.”

Two Mindanawon journalists were conferred posthumous awards by Titus Brandsma in 2009: Edgar Damalerio and Marlene Esperat for having stood for the truth “in times of threats, compromises, despite odds and reprisals from the powers that be.”

Damalerio, managing editor of the weekly newspaper Zamboanga Scribe and a commentator on DXKP radio station in Pagadian City was killed while on his way home from a press conference on May 13, 2002 while Esperat, a chemist of the Department of Agriculture turned whistleblower and columnist of the Tacurong City-based Midland Review, was gunned down while having dinner with her children in her residence in Tacurong City on Maundy Thursday, March 24, 2005. (John Frances C. Fuentes/MindaNews)