PDMirror’s Reporter Bags PAPC’s Plaridel Award

by Ronnie M. Estrada

COLMA, Calif.  (FAXX/jGLi) – An immigration story written by Joseph G. Lariosa of Fil Am Extra Exchange carried by San Bruno, Ca.-based weekly Philippines Today and posted online at New York-based Philippine Daily Mirror.com, and a labor story written by Harvey Barkin of Inquirer.net shared the best Plaridel Awards for Investigative In-Depth Reporting at the second edition of the awards ceremony of the Bay Area-based Philippine American Press Club U.S.A. (PAPC) held Saturday night (Oct. 19) at Rene’s Fine Dining at Lucky Chances Casino at 1700 Hillside Blvd. at San Francisco’s suburb of Colma, California.

Lariosa’s piece, “FilAms lead thousands of DREAMers for ‘deferred action,” published on Aug. 22, 2012 at Philippines Today and posted online at PhilippineDailyMirror.com on August 17, 2012 that highlights a little-used exercise of an executive fiat to enforce an immigration reform program that has always been the prerogative of the U.S Congress, was one of the three finalists in the investigative in-depth reporting category for the awards for excellence in journalism named after Filipino exiled journalist and publisher Marcelo H. Del Pilar, whose pen name is an anagram of his last name, Plaridel.

Barkin’s “Calif. City puts off naming school for Fil-Am heroes,” that came out on March 22, 2012, tells of the 13-year struggle of the FilipinoAmericancommunity to have the names of their own labor leaders Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz etched in place of Alvarado Middle School in Union City, California. Juan Alvarado was a former California governor, whose name is already engraved in a nearby Elementary school.

Honorable mention for the category was the story written by FilAm veteran mainstream journalist and Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist, Emil “Amok” Guillermo, “Ronald Ebens the who killed Vincent Chin apologizes 30years later,” which was published by Philippine News on Feb. 22, 2012.

In the Plaridel Commentary Editorial Essay, Randy Gener of The FilAm, was the winner for the essay, “A song for my mother,” published on May 24, 2013. Honorable mention went to Dy Calica-La Putt’s “The Fight Continues for Filipino Vets” published in the Asian Journal on Feb. 28, 2013.

Filipino American lawyer Rodel Rodis won the top prize for International reporting with his piece, “Philippine: A Jewish Refuge from Holocaust” published in the Inquirer.net on April 13, 2013. Rodel also accepted an award on behalf of Filipino Pulitzer-prize winner and journalist-turned immigration advocate of define.american, Jose Antonio Vargas. Getting honorable mention honors for this category was Arnold Pedrigal for his “Project PEARLS and the Children of Ulingan” published on Jan. 302013 in Manila Mail.

Only entries in 11 categories published between June 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013 in the U.S. were accepted in this year’s contest that acknowledges and celebrates the “contribution of outstanding writers and publishers in the Filipino American community as they chronicle the lives and times of our kababayans (countrymates), promote our ethnicity, champion our causes and provide a venue for our people to voice out their concerns, and ideas or the betterment of our society and the community at large.”

Professor Oscar Penaranda, poet and fiction writer and alumnus of San Francisco State University, in a keynote address, stressed the “sacred role of the press to speak to power and not to be spokesperson or cheerleader of power.” He said the “fourth estate completes the balance of power, not tipped in favor of the powerful and status quo in this super-sophisticated electronic manipulation grave and irreplaceable role.”

He toasted the journalists for paying a heavy price for telling the truth while fighting ignorance and misinformation.

California State Sen. Leland Yee, columnist of Philippines Today, was represented at the event by Dan Lieberman and Melissa Apuya.

Other winners were Lotis Key for “Going Home” that came out in Positively Filipino on May 20, 2013 for Plaridel Entertainment Story while Carlos Zialcita (also of Positively Filipino) for “Joe Bataan, Ordinary Guy with … “ posted Jan. 15, 2013 was given honorable mention for the category.

Emil Guillermo also won as Plaridel awardee for sports story for his “In Major League Baseball, Tim Lincecum” published in the Inquirer.net on April 18, 2013. Honorable mention for this category went to Fil Am lawyer and Philippines Today columnist Ted Laguatan for his account on “Did Drugs nearly kill Pacquiao” published in Inquirer.net on Jan. 21, 2013.

Elizabeth Ann Quirino of Positively Filipino won top honors for Plaridel food story on “A hundred Mangoes in a bottle” published on May 8, 2013 while Dennis Clemente got honorable mention for his “Jollibee in Queens, Max’s in Jersey City” published on April 4, 2013 in Inquirer.net.

Lawrence C. Ochoa of The FilAm/LA won Plaridel Youth Voice for his “A teenager attends his first “Kalayaan” that came out on June 22, 2013 while Alex Drechssler collected honorable mention honors for his “New Travel Deal hopes to attract Voluntourists” posted May 29, 2013 in Inquirer.net.

The winner for Plaridel Photo Journalism award went to Sidney Snoek (pronounced “Snuk”), a European socio-photojournalist, for his “Project Pears: Ulingan (charcoal) Children” photo taken in Tondo, Manila, Philippines for a non-profit feeding and educating center founded by Mesilla Villa.

Francis Calpotura of Positively Filipino was cited as Plaridel Tourism Feature/Photo on “It’s More Meaningful and Yes, fun – in the Philippines” published on May 1, 2013.


Robert Henry was also cited as best in Broadcast Radio for his “EastWest Radio Show” for outstanding radio programming, including podcast.”

A team of producers lead by New York city-based Don Tagala captured best Plaridel award for TV Community Reporting broadcast on TFC (The Filipino Channel)/Balitang America of ABS-CBN International for “Casting Call: The Story of Sam Milby.” Another ABS-CBN International entry cited as  honorable mention for “7 Mile House” was given to Adobo Nation led by Troy Espera “Sari-Sari Etc.” broadcast on March 3, 2013 while Ricky de los Reyes and Arnold Pedrigal of Power ng Pinoy were given recognition for their “Project Pearls Power ng Pinoy at the Oscars” broadcast on Jan. 30, 2013.

Lariosa, who was among those who did not make it to the awards ceremony, said it was Deputy Consul General of Northern California Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon, who texted/emailed him in his Chicago home to break the news of his award. Ascalon also presented the honorable mention award to Dennis Clemente for the food story, “Jollibee in Queens, Max’s in Jersey City.” He also represented Consul General Marciano Paynor, Jr., whose wife, Teresita Paynor, was also around to deliver Paynor’s message.

In brief remarks read for him by Marilyn King and Thelma Cruz of Philippines Today, Lariosa thanked PAPC, the Plaridel Awards Committee and Ms. Chavez for getting him engaged in the awards event this year. He said, “Doing Investigative & In-Depth Reporting not only takes time but also pushes a reporter to leave his friendly confines and follow the paper trail.”

Publisher-editor Jun Ilagan of California’s Fil-Am Star, one of FAXX’s subscribers, also gave brief remarks during the ceremony emceed by Joey Guila and Fresca Eriarte. Intermission numbers were provided by Mitch Franco and Kundiman Serenaders and dance music by Willie Santa Maria’s Standard Time Band and Dr. Michael Coroza with his folksongs and declamation (balagtasan).

Last year’s top prize-winners won crystal engraved trophies and cash.

According to Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, in 2010, Asian Americans make up only about 4% of the American population, quoting the 2008 U.S. Census Bureau. But Asians have a larger median household income than that of the average American household, which translates into a strong buying power.

Filipinos make up the second-largest Asian population in the U.S., with 3.05 million as of 2007 and mostly speak English, one of the two official languages in the Philippines, including Filipino, which is mostly based on Tagalog.

The awards ceremony was captured on live streaming video and can be viewed www.ustream.tv/channel/papcusa.

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