5 individuals to receive Titus Brandsma Awards

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MANILA, Nov. 16, 2015— Five individuals have made it to the roster of awardees for this year’s Titus Brandsma Award of the Titus Brandsma Media Center, a Carmelite Media Ministry.

Titus Brandsma Award is a biennial award given to individuals and groups, especially to journalists in print and broadcast media who have lived out in an exemplary way the virtues of Blessed Titus Brandsma, a Carmelite priest, journalist and educator who was martyred in 1942 in the Dachau Nazi concentration camp for writing and defending the truth.

The awarding ceremony, which is set on Nov. 27, at the Titus Brandsma Media Center in New Manila, Quezon City, will honor Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD; Yvonne Chua; Raymund Villanueva; Abner Francisco; and Gary Granada.

The body is awarding the following for excellence in their respective fields:

  • Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD, for Leadership in Social Communication

A renowned speaker in different courses and workshops on social communication, culture and globalization, Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD is actively promoting communication in the Church, especially in today’s age of Internet and communication technology.

Eilers continues to serve as professor of Social Communication and Missiology at the Divine Word School of Theology in Tagaytay City and University of Santo Tomas in Manila. He has also authored books on Social Communication that animated not only the Church in Asia but all over the globe. Aside from that, he is a Consultor of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications at the Vatican in Rome where he also teaches in schools like the Gregorian and Salesian universities and he is also a professor at the College of Development Communication of the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

Eilers used to be the Executive Secretary for the Office of the Social Communication (OSC) of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) in Manila.

  • Yvonne Chua for Leadership in Journalism

Yvonne Chua has lived the best of both worlds of the academe and media practice.

A journalism professor of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication where she handles basic to advanced Journalism courses at the undergraduate and Master’s levels, 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 reformation in various government agencies because of her expertise, especially in Data Journalism where she uses data culled from different researches and investigations and utilizes them to give a picture of the different issues like the unexplained wealth of government officials, discrepancies in textbook procurement in public schools, lack of accountability and transparency in government institution, among others. Chua was the former managing editor of Malaya, a publication in the Philippines.

Aside from her teaching and media stints, she has also edited and co-written books on investigative reporting while sharing her expertise as member of the editorial advisory board of Asia Pacific Media Educator, a 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 (CHED), and editorial consultant of Tulay publication for 20 years already.

  • Raymund Villanueva for Emerging Leadership in Journalism

Raymund Villanueva is the Director for Radio of Kodao Productions, Inc., a multimedia radio and production group based here in the Philippines that has won awards and citations from different award-giving bodies. Known for his passion as a journalist and a storyteller, 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 B’laan family and a photo essay on the Banwaon Children of Balit.

Though he has fearlessly faced the different threats that come with the profession, Villanueva always tells students and fellow media practitioners that safety is a must in performing one’s duties.

“… In all these, I am happy and still alive. I have every intention to stay this way for some more decades. Because no story, no photograph, no film, no broadcast, is worth dying for,” Villanueva said during one of the workshops he handled.

  • Abner Francisco for Leadership in Community Communication

A journalist for print and radio, Abner Francisco 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 when the Watchful Advocate for Transparent, Clean and Honest Governance (WATCH) North Cotabato, a media-citizen initiative started.

  • Gary Granada for Leadership in Culture and Communication

Gary Granada is an award-winning composer for his pop/folk music artistry and 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 used to teach about 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.

Titus Brandsma Awards is a prestigious award-giving body that 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, Carol Arguillas of Mindanews, to name a few through the Titus Brandsma Media Ministry of the Order of Carmelites (O.Carm.), an 800-year old religious order in the Catholic Church which is also present in the Philippines.

The Carmelite fathers’ media apostolic ministry is named after Blessed Titus Brandsma, who died defending defended press freedom and the right to education. Pope John Paul II beatified him on Nov. 3, 1985 by. (CBCPNews / Carmelite Media Ministry)

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