“Who should tell the stories of the poor and the downtrodden?’ They should. The poor and the marginalized must be their own voices.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – A journalist for alternative media outfits is this year’s recipient of Titus Brandsma Award for Emerging Leadership in Journalism.
Raymund B. Villanueva, radio director of Kodao Productions and reporter at Bulatlat.com, received the award Nov. 27 at the Titus Brandsma Center in Quezon City.
In his acceptance speech, Villanueva said the award is an affirmation of his work and came as the Catholic Church celebrates the Year of the Poor. Villanueva wrote stories on human rights, disasters, social justice and peace and conflict. He is also a co-host of radio program of “Talaakaayan” at Veritas 846.
He said, “…[t]he many years that I have been reporting on and for the poor and marginalized still does not make me one of them. I could not yet claim that I suffer as much as they do. I ask, ‘Who should tell the stories of the poor and the downtrodden?’ They should. The poor and the marginalized must be their own voices.”
Villanueva mentioned Kodao Productions’s initiatives in helping set up community radio stations in the provinces and in training citizen journalists from poor communities.
Yvonne T. Chua, co-founder of Vera Files and journalism professor at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, was recognized for Leadership in Journalism.
Kidapawan-based journalist for print and radio Abner Francisco received the Titus Brandsma Award for Leadership in Community Communication.
Folk singer and composer Gary Granada was awarded for Leadership in Culture and Communication. Karl Ramirez, Granada’s colleague at League of Authors of Public Interest Songs (Lapis), received the award on Granada’s behalf.
Fr. Franz-Jose Eilers, SVD received the Award for Leadership in Social Communication. Eilers is a professor of Social Communication and Missiology at the Divine Word School of Theology in Tagaytay City.
The award is named after a Dutch Carmelite priest who led the Catholic press in refusing to print official Nazi publications. He was arrested, tortured and killed by lethal injection in Dacahu on July
26, 1942. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 3, 1985 and was declared a “Martyr of Press Freedom.”
Florangel Rosario Braid, Ph.D. , president of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC), served as the chair of the jury for this year’s Titus Brandsma Awards.