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Five individuals to receive Titus Brandsma Awards

QUEZON CITY—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 exemplary lived-out the virtues of Blessed Titus Brandsma, a Carmelite priest, journalist and educator who was martyred in 1942 in Dachau Concentration Camp for writing and defending the truth.

The awarding ceremony is set on November 27, at the Titus Brandsma Media Center in New Manila, Quezon City.

The award giving body has chosen the following individuals for their excellence in various endeavors in different categories:

LEADERSHIP IN SOCIAL COMMUNICATION

Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD

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.

Fr. 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. Fr. Eilers 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.

Fr. 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.

LEADERSHIP IN JOURNALISM

Yvonne Chua

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 use 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, Chua 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 (CHED), and editorial consultant of Tulay publication for 20 years already.

EMERGING LEADERSHIP IN JOURNALISM

Raymund Villanueva

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 Blaan family and photo essay on the Banwaon Children of Balit.

Though he has fearlessly faced the different threats in 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.

LEADERSHIP IN COMMUNITY COMMUNICATION

Abner Francisco

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.

LEADERSHIP IN CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION

Gary Granada

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 that 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 who is also present in the Philippines.

The Carmelite Priests in the Philippines has chosen Blessed Titus Brandsma to bear the name of their media apostolic ministry. Titus Brandsma has defended press freedom, right to education, even at the cost of his life. He was beatified on November 3, 1985 by Pope John Paul II. (PR)

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As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."