Chit Estella Journalism awards focus on human rights reports

Congratulations to the winners in the 1st Chit Estella Journalism awards.

The awardees were Elizabeth Lolarga of the Philippine Daily Inquirer for her print story, “365 political prisoners go on hunger strike” and Ina Alleco Silverio of for her online story, “Three months after Sendong, Iligan residents still far from rebuilding their lives.”

The winners of the 1st Chit Estella Journalism Awards will be known Friday (Dec 7) in an event at the UP College of Mass Communications Auditorium that will also include a Memorial Lecture.

The Chit Estella Awards honor the best journalistic report on human rights in print and online, published between October 1, 2011 and October 1, 2012. Each awardee will be given a cash prize of P10,000 and a trophy.

This year’s finalists for online media are:

-Three months after Sendong, Iligan residents still far from rebuilding their lives by Ina Alleco Silverio

-Jonas Burgos, gentle and brave by Ronalyn Olea

-Privatization of government hospitals, further marginalizing the poor in the name of profit by Anne Marxze Umil

-K + 12, worsening shortages to greet school opening by Anne Marxze Umil

-In Makati, the poor of Guatemala street know nothing about the city’s wealth by Ina Alleco Silverio

Finalists from print are:

-Kin of ‘desaparecidos’ keep up fight by Tonette Orejas

-In Sulu, human rights work starts with letting the people know by Julie Alipala

-356 political prisoners go on hunger strike by Elizabeth Lolarga

The Chit Estella Journalism Awards and Memorial Lectures are intended to keep alive Chit’s ideals of excellent and principled journalism and her human rights advocacy. Lourdes Estella-Simbulan in real life, she was known by her byline “Chit Estella.”

At the time of her death in a vehicular accident May last year, Chit was a journalism professor of the University of the Philippines-Diliman and trustee-writer of VERA Files, a group composed of veteran reporters that puts out in-depth articles and conducts training for journalists.

The awarding of the winners for the 1st Chit Estella Memorial Lecture coincides with Human Rights Day which is marked worldwide on Dec. 10.

Satur Ocampo, a veteran journalist, former political prisoner, former Bayan Muna party list president and representative in Congress, and now columnist of the Philippine Star, Ocampo will be the featured speaker in the Memorial lecture.

The winners were chosen by a board of judges composed of five representatives from the Estella/Simbulan family, VERA Files, the UP College of Mass Communications and Karapatan.


It is a source of deep consolation that even at an agonizingly slow place, the bill penalizing enforced or involuntary disappearance moved. It was approved by both chambers of the Philippine Congress last Oct. 16 and is now in Malacanang awaiting the signature of the President.

The bill makes a crime making a person disappear from the face of the earth which defies the natural cycle of life. A person is born, lives, and dies. He does not disappear as what happened to Jonas Burgos, Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan and many more students, farmers, and workers.

The bill defines Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty committed by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which places such person outside the protection of the law.”

Human Right advocates are hoping that the President sign the bill, “Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012” into law on Monday. That would be the best Christmas gift that he could give to the families of the victims.

The President could further give substance to his much-proclaimed respect for human rights by signing the United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

It’s a shame that the Philippines under a President who comes from a family that experienced human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship, is not among 91 countries that have signed the Convention. Thirty seven of those signatory countries have ratified the Convention.

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) will be holding a press conference on Monday, Dec. 10, 9:00 – 11:00 am at the Max’s Restaurant, Orosa St., cor. U.N. Ave., Ermita, Manila.

December 6, 2012 10:26 pm  Tags:   Posted in: Malaya, Media

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