mam awards winners2019 MAM Awardees with CFO Secretary Francisco P. Acosta and Undersecretary Astravel Pimentel-Naik (photo courtesy of ABS-CBN TFC)

As part of the month-long celebration of the Month of Overseas Filipinos observed every December, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas conferred the Migration Advocacy and Media Awards to 20 best media institutions, practitioners and advocates during the Awarding Ceremony on December 17, 2019 at Diamond Hotel, Manila. This year’s awardees came from the US, Italy, Kuwait, Switzerland, South Korea, Germany, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

The book “Bending Without Breaking: Thirteen Women’s Stories of Migration and Resilience” from Switzerland won the Best Book Award. Ms. Annabelle Misa-Hefti, contributor and project manager of the book, accepted the award. The Best Newspaper Award went to “Ako Ay Pilipino.” Its editor, Pia Eliza Gonzales received the award. Amb. Melita Santa Maria-Thomeczek represented “The Migrant” for the Best Newsletter Award. While the Best Magazine Award was bagged by “Via Times Newsmagazine”. Shiela Palomer accepted the award.

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(Top-bottom; right-left) Annabelle Misa-Hefti, Amb. Melita Santa. Maria-Thomeczek, Pia Eliza Gonzalez, and Shiela Palomer receiving the award

Two radio shows won the Best Regular Radio Award, Buhay-Buhay Sa Amerika and Luv2DMax. Both its hosts, Rhia Luz and Maxxy Santiago received the award. Meanwhile the Best Regular TV Program was both bagged by Kabayani Talks and Pusong Pinoy Sa Amerika. Jasmin Romero and Eric Quizon, host and co-host of the shows accepted the award. “Laban.DH” of I-Witness and “Mga Nagkukubling Anghel” of Reporters’ Notebook were conferred with Best TV Episodic Program. Howie Severino, journalist and host of “Laban.DH” and Izza Beatriz Bermudez, segment producer of “Mga Nagkukubling Anghel” took the award. “Tadhana” for the second time was recognized as the Best TV Series. Eleazar Del Rosario, executive producer of the show, accepted the award. The MAM Awards conferred for the first time the Best TV Interstitial Award to “Becoming Pinoy” and “Lines and Letters.” Cheri Domingo, GMA International AVP and Head of Programming and Mark David Acob, Executive Producer of “Lines and Letters” received the award. Ana Santos’ “Imprisoned: Raising My Baby Behind Bars” won the Best Documentary Award. On the other hand, “Still Human” and “Hello Love, Goodbye” both got the Best Full-Length Film Award. Lead actress of “Still Human”, Crisel Consunji, “Hello Love, Goodbye” actors and director, Kathryn Bernardo, Alden Richards, and Cathy Garcia-Molina showed their appreciation through audio and video messages.

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(Top-bottom; right-left) Rhia Luz, Maxxy Santiago, Jasmin Romero, and Eric Quizon, Howie Severino,
Izza Beatrice Bermudez, Eleazar Del Rosario, Cheri Domingo, and Mark David Acob, and Ana Santos receiving the award

For the interactive media category, Norman Zafra’s “Obrero (www.obrerofilm.com)” and Nash Ang’s “Pinoy Seoul (www.pinoyseoul.com)” were both presented with the Best Website Award. Meanwhile, Best Blog Award was solely conferred to Jennifer Fergesen’s The Global Carinderia (www.globalcarinderia.com)”. First time in the MAM Awards history, a Special Citation Award was given. This was conferred to the book, “Voice: Poetry by Youth of Kalihi”. The Award was accepted by Norman Sales, Head of English Department of Farrington High School, Hawaii. 

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(Top-bottom; right-left) Norman Zafra, Nash Ang, Jennifer Fergesen, and Norman Sales receiving the award)

The winners expressed their gratitude to the CFO and to all their supporters and followers, in recognition of their efforts and media works. The awards are testaments for their excellence and distinction as government’s valuable partner in mainstreaming and raising public awareness on the various issues on migration.

In his speech, CFO Secretary Francisco Acosta emphasized that being a recipient of the MAM Awards is both a responsibility and a priviledge. He said “Higit sa pribilehiyo, kalakip ng gantimpalang ito ay responsibilidad. Isang tungkulin ang pag-imik at hindi pananahimik. Maraming salamat sa pag-ako ninyo sa responsibilidad ng pagkukuwento, lalo na para sa mga Pilipinong nangangailangan ng boses. Ipagpatuloy ninyo ang paglikha ng mga obrang tumatalakay sa buhay ng mga kababayan natin sa ibayong dagat. Ang inyong mga likha ay maagang pamasko sa sambayanang Pilipino.”

The awardees received a specialized trophy sculpture of a migratory bird which symbolizes journey, peace and prosperity – fitting themes surrounding Filipino migrants.  This piece of art was designed by a local artist, Aris Bagtas, with the help of his team of artists from Kunst Pilipino & Gallery based in Batangas. They worked under the guidance of Virgilio Cuizon, a Presidential Banaag Awardee from Germany. Furthermore, the awardees received cash incentive, which was provided and generously sponsored by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

This year’s entries were screened and evaluated by the 2019 MAM Awards Committee chaired by CFO Secretary Francisco P. Acosta with Committee Members: CFO Executive Director Astravel Pimentel-Naik, Ms. Carmelita Nuqui of the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch (PMRW), Dr. Celia Reyes of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), Dr. Edna Co of CIFAL Philippines, Prof. Stella Go of the Philippine Migration Research Network (PMRN), Atty. Tristan De Guzman of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO), and Ms. Melinda Quiñones of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA). 

The MAM Awards is a program of the CFO since 2011 to give recognition to the significant role of the media in raising public awareness on issues related to Filipino migration, the challenges of migration and development, and advocating the cause and promoting a positive image of Filipinos overseas.