On its fifth year, Gawad Agong awarded journalists and media outfits for stories highlighting indigenous peoples’ courage and hope amid difficulties and challenges.
Organized by Katribu (formerly Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas), Gawad Agong is part of the Indigenous Voices in Asia project of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact which aims to amplify the voice of indigenous peoples in the media.
Winning the print category and a special award for reportage of women indigenous peoples is “The woman who squeezed men’s balls in defense of her homeland” by Kimberlie Ngabit-Quitasol. The article is a tribute to Petra Macliing who led the barricade against a mining company during the ‘70s. The women of Mainit village in Bontoc, Mountain Province drove the mining engineers away by baring their breasts, which is regarded as curse. The Mainit women’s chant, Uray maid armas mi/ armas mi nan ima mi / estawes, esta-gawis/ ikmer mi snan fitfitli, fitfitlin na raraki/ estawes, esta-gawis!” (We may not be armed/ but our hands are our weapons/ We use our bare hands to squeeze balls, the balls of men) is still recited during political gatherings in the Cordillera region.
A story about a young Lumad woman defending the tribal school bagged the Gawad Agong online category. “One teen’s fight to save under fire Philippine tribal schools” by Mark Saludes of Union of Catholic Asia News (UCAN) shares the story of Michelle Campos, whose father Dionel was killed by paramilitary group on Sept. 1, 2015. Campos herself is a product of the award-winning Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (Alcadev) and she vowed to defend her tribe’s future and their ancestral land.
A documentary about the first Dumagat who obtained a college degree also won the Gawad Agong. “Titser Diday of the Dumagat tribe” by Mitzi Borromeo of CNN-Philippines is a profile about Lodema dela Cruz “Teacher Diday” Doroteo who persevered in finishing college to become a teacher in their community in Tanay, Rizal.
A live program of DZUP1602’s Sikhay Kilos featuring the Radyo Sagada and Radyo Lumad a won the radio category. Radyo Sagada and Radyo Lumad are community-based media outfits run by indigenous peoples themselves.
Awards were given to Kilab Multimedia Inc. for its consistent reportage of indigenous peoples’ issues and to Radyo Lumad for being “the voice of the Lumad in Mindanao.”
During the awarding ceremonies, Nov. 20, Joe Torres of UCAN said in his keynote speech that journalists who want to write stories about indigenous peoples should spend time with the community and should feel what the indigenous peoples are going through.