Maternal health, RH divide among year’s best PopDev stories

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By Patricia Vega

A hard-nosed investigation of padded population figures in Muslim Mindanao. Visually arresting images of the state of maternal health in the Philippines. An appeal for Church and State to engage in civilized debate on the reproductive health bill. These and other compelling human interest stories were honored on November 30 at the PopDev Media Awards, organized annually by the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD).

Now on its 6th year, the PopDev Media awards promotes and encourages outstanding and responsible journalism on population development themes and issues. PLCPD executive director Ramon San Pascual notes the increasing number of nominations each year. “This year we received around 569 nominations,” he said.

Michael Varcas

Maternal health coverage ranked high among the winning works, with six of the winners and runners-ups tackling this issue. Media coverage of maternal health issues is of particular interest, as the Philippines ranks among the lowest in the ASEAN in terms of maternal health. “The Philippines probably won’t make it to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals [for maternal health],” says Ugochi Daniels, Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund.

Other issues addressed by the entries include the RH Bill — both winning opinion pieces look at the different sides of the controversy; disaster response, sex education, fatherhood and family planning, the skin trade, and abortion.

Complete list of winners:

Photojournalism Category

Best Single Photo:

Winner – Kriz John Rosales, Manila Bulletin (“A Mother”)
Runner-up – Michael Varcas, Manila Bulletin and Tempo (“Only Hope”)

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Best Photo Essay:

Winner – Buck Pago, Bulatlat.com (“Overpopulation in the Philippines and the Need for an RH Law”)
Runner-up – Joe Galvez, GMANews.TV (“Displaced by Ondoy, dazed evacuees still dare to dream”)

John Alliage Morales

Print and Online Category

Best News Reportage:
Winner – Merlinda Hernando-Malipot, Manila Bulletin
Runner-up – Imelda Abano, BusinessMirror

Best Investigative Report:
Winner – Roel Landingin, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (“Alarm bells for May 10 elections? Sharp sharp spike in Maguindanao, ARMM population a big riddle”)
Runner-up – John Alliage Morales, Philippine Graphic Magazine (“No breaking glass floor of drug prices”)

Best Opinion or Editorial Piece:
Winner – Fr. John J. Carroll S.J., Philippine Daily Inquirer (“Enough of Demographic Terrorism: Let’s Talk”)
Runner-up – Juan Mercado, Sun.Star Cebu (“Three Inevitables”)

Best Feature or Magazine Article:
Winner – Stephanie Dychiu, GMANews.TV (“Quiapo Church battles abortion in front yard”)
Runner-up – Donna Demetillo, Women’s Feature Service (“Young, Poor and Tricked into the Sex Trade”)

Broadcast Category Best TV Documentary:
Winner – Karen Davila, The Correspondents- ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network (“Napabayaang Sinapupunan”)
Runner-up – Abner Mercado, The Correspondents- ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network (“Agaw Buhay”)

Best Magazine Program or Talk Show:
Winner – Marielle Gaceta-Catbagan, Salamat Dok- ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network (“Family Planning Options”)
Runner-up – Marielle Gaceta-Catbagan, Salamat Dok- ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network (“Father’s Role in Family Planning”)

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