It has become a tradition in the last two decades to highlight December as the “Month of Overseas Filipinos.” A welcome innovation in the 2011 celebration of the exceptional contributions of Filipinos overseas is the fitting recognitionof media practitioners who have featured not only their travails and successes, but have also continuously given them moral support while abroad.
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas singled out seven (7) recipients of the 1st Migration Advocacy and Media (MAM) Awards last 15 December at the Land Bank Auditorium, Manila. The Awards focused on the positive and significant contributions of media outlets, institutions and individuals in the fields of print, radio, movie and television, advertising, and the internet. The entries were drawn from government and private media organizations in the Philippines and abroad, all of whom have channeled their resources to raise public awareness of the many issues confronting Filipino migrants. The awardees were singled out not only for their tireless advocacy but also for promoting a positive image of Filipinos oversas and highlighting the growing importance of migrants as partners of Philippine development.
Among the 64 official entries reviewed by the panel of Judges, the 7 finalists from the United States, New Zealand, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, and the Philippines represented the best in their respective categories.
The Print Journalism Award was conferred on AKLNZPINOYS, the producers of “From Carabao to Sheep” – a handbook designed to help Filipino migrants to New Zealand cope with their resettlement and adjustment to the lifestyle in their adopted country of residence.
The Radio Journalism Award was awarded to “Multicultural Family Broadcasting for Filipinos.” Sponsored by the Woongjin Foundation, the radio series is being broadcasted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday hosted by DJ Regina Arquiza – a radio program dedicated to the concerns and issues of migrants in South Korea, it aims to help Filipino workers, spouses of Koreans and students on their daily lives in South Korea.
The Television Journalism Award under the Regular Program Category was given to “Citizen Pinoy,” a production of ABS‐CBN Global Limited. The show features immigration consultant, Atty. Michael Garfunkel, and the many overseas Filipinos who candidly share lessons learned in the course of their sojourn in the United States.
The Best Episodic Television Program was received by “Front Row’s PAG‐UWI” produced by GMA News TV Channel 11 ‐ the TV‐docu features three OFWs and their stories of coming home to the Philippines after the tragedies they have suffered in their hot countries – Libya, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
The Film Media Award for the Best Film Documentary focusing on migration issues was received by “The Filipina on Top: Deconstructing Maria Clara.” A film by Kamil Roxas and produced by Illustrado Communications FZ‐LLC – it is a documentary on women empowerment and the harsh realities faced by Filipinas, especially in the Middle East countries.
The Interactive Media Award for Best Online or Web‐based Media was given to Joseph Holandes Ubalde of Interaksyon.com for his article “Highlights and Lowlights: 38 Years of Pinoys Abroad” – a comprehensive documentation of Philippine migration history and the socio‐economic forces underpinning this phenomenon.
The Advertisement Award for Best TV Commercial/Advertisement about issues on migration was conferred on “Mag‐Ingat Sa Mga Illegal Recruiter” by the CLTV 36 – a vital message in the face of rampant trafficking and illegal recruitment that has put the Philippines on the US Tier 2 Watchist which focuses on this form of modern‐day slavery.
Given the success of this pioneering initiative to recognize mass media advocates who give flesh and blood to 9 million Filipino migrants in 200+ destinations worldwide – the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) will continue to conduct this annual event to motivate more writers and producers who can serve as an important allies in promting the interests of the hard‐working Philippine diaspora. (Policy, Planning & Research Division - Office of the President - Commission on Filipinos Overseas)