Media agencies advocating workers’ rights were celebrated during the 17th Gandingan Awards held at the DL Umali Hall, UPLB, last May 13.

The Gandingan Awards 2023 embraced the theme Kabuhayan, Buhay ng Bayan, underscoring the crucial role of the media as storytellers to amplify the plight and rights of Filipino workers amid the pandemic.

It spotlighted compelling stories from jeepney drivers threatened by the jeepney phaseout, narratives of front liners suffering from insufficient wages, and the persistent attacks to silence journalists and progressive groups tackling these issues.

The Gandingan Awards is a creation of the UP Community Broadcasters’ Society (ComBroadSoc).

Winners of the Gandingan Awards 2023

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) bagged the two major awards.

DOSTv: Science for the People clinched the Gandingan ng Kaunlaran: Most Development-Oriented Radio/TV Station/Online Platform. Dr. Richard Burgos and his team from the DOST Science and Technology Information Institute (STII) accepted the award. DOST also bagged the top prize during the Gandingan Awards 2020.

Meanwhile, the UP ComBroadSoc’s Choice for Gandingan ng Kabuhayan was the DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) for its Lakbay GALING Series. Dr. Reynaldo Ebora, PCAARRD executive director, with the Applied Communication Division (ACD) team, led by its director Marita Carlos, accepted the award. 

The Ka Louie Tabing Memorial Achievement Award in Community Broadcasting was given to Dr. Rogelio Matalang for his instrumental contributions to establishing community radio stations in the Cordilleras and Cagayan Valley. Matalang was a faculty member at the Cagayan State University. 

The award was first given in 2022 at the 16th Gandingan Awards in honor of the late Ka Louie Tabing, a broadcasting luminary who pioneered the Tambuli Radio Project and hosted DZMM TeleRadyo’s “Sa Kabukiran” for two decades. 

Thirty media organizations, programs, and journalists were recognized in six other categories: the General Awards for Radio, Television, Online, and Personalities and the Core Awards for Programs and Personalities. 

Upholding workers’ rights

In his reflection message, Mark Lester M. Chico, Gandingan Awards founder and Office of Public Relations director, stressed the timely relevance of the theme of this year’s awards, which centered on the watchdog role that the media play in telling the stories of Filipino workers whose livelihoods continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gamitin ninyo ang Gandingan bilang gabay sa mga kuwentong ilalahad ninyo gamit ang inyong kapangyarihang mamahayag. Maging pampatibay-loob din sana ito para sa ating laban kontra sa mga puwersang nais patahimikin ang boses na nagsasabi ng katotohanan at palitan ito ng naratibong may pakinabang lamang sa mga makapangyarihan at naghaharing-uri,” Chico said.

In a welcome message delivered on behalf of Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr., Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, vice chancellor for research and extension, emphasized drawing inspiration from the winners and using the power of the media to promote inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Maria Stella C. Tirol, dean of the College of Development Communication, the home unit of UP ComBroadSoc, highlighted media’s role in covering stories of struggle and resilience amid economic challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.

UP ComBroadSoc’s head, Chief Anchor Dara Miracle Montalbo, gave a sneak peek into the Gandingan Awards 2024. 

According to her, the farmers, as the backbone of the country’s economy, will take center stage with agriculture and food as next year’s theme.

Gandingan’s return to the stage

The Gandingan Awards 2023 marked the event’s return to the stage after three years of being held virtually due to the pandemic. 

The event featured live performances from local artists, such as the Talahib People’s Music, Umalohokan Inc., Wyre Underground, Harmonya: The String Ensemble of UPLB, UPLB Choral Ensemble, as well as the P-Pop boy group, BGYO.  

Since its founding in 2007, Gandingan Awards has established itself as a premier award-giving program to honor media organizations and practitioners who use radio, television, and online media for development. 

Alongside the Gandingan Awards, the Gandingan 2023 Trade Fair  was held in partnership with the UPLB Business Affairs Office at the Student Union Amphitheatre on May 9-12. 

It was participated in by various local small and medium-sized enterprises. 

The 17th Gandingan Awards was live-streamed on Facebook. (Klyra V. Orbien)

This article was originally published on the UPLB website.