24 Filipino journalists awarded for fearless, factual reporting on West Philippine Sea

The National Defense College of the Philippines Alumni Association, Inc. (NDCPAAI) has awarded 24 journalists, including Manila Bulletin reporter Martin Sadongdong, for what it described as fearless coverage on China’s continuing harassment against Filipino sailors and fisherfolk amid the tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, the NDCPAAI said the courageous and factual reporting of the Filipino journalists has been keeping the Filipino people well-informed of the measures undertaken by the Philippine government and the encroachment of other state actors on sovereign territory.  

“The active involvement and unrelenting reports from journalists and other mass media practitioners highlight the fair, fearless, frontline coverage of journalists who delivered reports that do not only vividly capture events as they happen, but contextualize them,” said NDCPAAI Secretary General Aldrin C. Cuña.

“This results in stories that combine the snapshots of the moment with the big picture. This is journalism that deepens public understanding of an issue that impacts the nation,” he added.

The awards ceremony, held at the Bonifacio Naval Station in Taguig City, recognized about 24 journalists from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inquirer Interactive, Inc., Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, GMA News, News5, ABS-CBN News and PTV News:

Manila Bulletin: Martin A. Sadongdong

Philippine Daily Inquirer: Frances G. Mangosing

Inquirer Interactive, Inc.: Kurt Dela Pena, John Eric Mendoza, Adrian L. Parungao

Philippine Star: Michael Punongbayan

ABS-CBN News: Jose P. Carretero, Bianca A. Dava, Jervis T. Manahan

GMA News: Rodolfo "Jun" D. Veneracion Jr., Marisol Abdurahman, Maviel "Mav" Gonzales, Darlene Cay, Joviland Rita, Ronald Ian G. Cruz, John Paul "JP" Soriano, Chino Gaston, Rufino "Raffy" D. Tima Jr.

News5: Dave Abuel, Bryan Ellis Castillo, Ed Lingao

PTV News: Ryan Lesigues, James Patrick De Jesus, Cleizl Pardilla

In his speech as guest of honor of the ceremony, Sen. Francis Tolentino, who chairs the Senate special committee on Philippine maritime and admiralty zones, said the factual and fair coverage of Filipino journalists is the best antidote to the propaganda being circulated by the Chinese government on the West Philippine Sea issue.

“Through this fight, we see the crucial role of good journalism in bringing out the truth and empowering the people,” said Tolentino. 

“No less than our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal said that the pen is mightier than the sword, a powerful weapon wielded by our brave men and women who are present here,” he added.

Captain Luidegar "Lloyd" Casis, head of the NDCPAAI’s Committee on Military Affairs, said the coverage of Filipino journalists put on spotlight “the real score behind what is happening during our regular maritime sovereignty patrols and even during our troop rotation and supply missions to our islands, shoals, and other features.”

“Without their wholehearted support, we would not have been able to bring across the message that the West Philippine Sea should be protected and defended not only for our sake but for our posterity, as well,” Casis said.