I was honored to host the first SM Super Awards for the Media which was recently held at the SMX Convention Center. This was the first in a series of Super Awards that the SM Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the SM Group of Companies, organized to recognize and salute the outstanding achievements of people in various fields and industries. For its maiden year, the SM Super Awards paid tribute to the heroism of the members of the media during their coverage of Typhoon Yolanda.
Last year, the country was besieged by Yolanda (internationally known as Haiyan) which is said to be the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record. It caused mayhem; destruction of numerous infrastructures, livelihood and properties; left countless of people homeless; and claimed more than 6,000 lives. Despite the disaster, we have seen kind-hearted souls who showed unparalleled generosity, bravery and heroism in the face of danger. Some of them were the members of the local international media who risked their own lives to give vivid images and blow-by-blow accounts on the onslaught of Yolanda.
The media was there before, during and after the typhoon ravaged the Visayas region. More journalists even came to cover the aftermath. They made us aware of the human despair and environmental damage caused by the typhoon through their stories and coverages. If not for them, there won’t be massive assistance whether in cash or in kind from here and abroad for the survivors. Because of their heroic contributions, it was only befitting to honor these remarkable men and women who brought us closer to where the action was, even if they had to risk their own lives in the name of duty and service.
To identify the members of the media, the SM Foundation invited media groups to submit nominations. The board of judges composed of Bill Tweddell (Australian ambassador to the Philippines), Luiza Carvalho (director and resident coordinator of the United Nations in the Philippines), Dr. Roland Tolentino (dean of the UP College of Mass Communication) and Anna Maria Garcia (president of SM Supermalls) went through all the nominations to come up with a final list of awardees.
The criteria for the selection of awardees were: 1.) The nominee must be a legitimate member of a press entity; 2.) He or she must be present during the landfall and covered the catastrophe at the time that typhoon signals three and four were raised; and 3.) They had to overcome significant obstacles just to be able to file their stories whether in print, on television or radio broadcast.
The three main award categories were the local, the national and the international. The awardees for Local Radio were DYBR Apple Radio 711khz (Lorelie “Lottie” Salarda), DYDW (Jazmin Bonifacio), DZRH & DYVL (Jimmy Angay Angay); Local Radio Station — DYBR (representative of radio manager Danilo Requiez — Vicky Jornales), DYVL (station manager Francisca Custodio); Local Print — Leyte Samar Daily News/LSDE (Joey Gabieta); Local TV — ABS-CBN RNG News (Ranulfo Docdocan and cameraman Glenn Paraiso), GMA 6 Iloilo Broadcast (Joecel Huesca and Melvin Garvilles) and GMA 7 Cebu (Greggy Magdadaro and Teodorico Solon Jr.).
The national media awardees for National Print — The Philippine STAR (Lelaine Jimenea), Philippine Daily Inquirer (DJ Yap and photographer Nino Orbeta), Manila Bulletin (Tara Yap); National TV — Solar News Channel (David Santos, cameraman Alvin Villafranco and assistant cameraman Harold Paras), TV5 (Benjie Dorango, cameramen Lorefel Agiad II and Alfredo Patriarca, Erwin Tulfo, news crew Jerico Javier, cameraman Levi Duriano and assistant cameraman Teddy Balanza), GMA Network, Inc. (Love Añover, producer Suzette dela Cruz-Pinpin, cameraman Ricson Bactad and assistant cameraman Dennis Mariano), GMA News TV Quick Response Team (Jiggy Manicad, video journalists Karim “Ding” Lagoyo and Winston Lucas), GMA Network (Micaela Papa, Art Serrano, assistant cameraman Marlon Espiridion), ABS-CBN (Ted Failon, cameraman Bernie Tibudan and producers Bert Apostol, Ferdie Dugay and Irish Vidal) and ABS-CBN News (Atom Araullo, cameramen Cris Panlubasan and August Pineda, Julie Ann Cruz, Rowen Ruedas, Edgar Celis, Renato Balanza, Anselmo Aguilar and Ferdinand Trance).
The international media awardees included CNN (Andrew Stevens, cameraman Brad Olsen and producer Tim Schwartz) and Al Jazeera (Jamela Alindogan and cameraman Karsten Sondergaard).
Posthumous awards were given to Ronald Vinas (DYVL Tacloban), Allan Medino (DYVL Tacloban) and Archi Globio (DTBR Apple Radio Tacloban) who lost their lives in the line of duty while valiantly reporting the onslaught of Yolanda. The SM Super Awards also gave financial assistance to their families.
Until now, the Philippines continues to receive generous amounts of assistance from the global communities. SM Foundation gave a plaque of appreciation as a token of gratitude to these countries. The plaque was from a piece of mahogany tree that was uprooted by the mighty winds and ravaging waters brought by Yolanda to the provinces of Leyte and Samar on Nov. 8, 2013. It was found at the chancery of the Office of the Archdiocese of Palo, inside the Sacred Heart Seminary.