ucanews.com reporter, ManilaUpdated: April 26, 2019 08:23 AM GMT
Benedictine Sister Mary John Mananzan of Scholastica’s College in Manila says media practitioners in the country are an "endangered species". (Photo by Angie de Silva)
A Catholic school for girls in Manila honored Filipino women journalists this week for their work in "serving and paving the way to improving the welfare of young people."
Among those honored was Patricia Evangelista, an investigative reporter for online media organization Rappler, who has been reporting on drug-related killings in the Philippines.
In her opening remarks, Benedictine nun Mary John Mananzan of Scholastica’s College in Manila described media practitioners in the Philippines as "an endangered species."
At least 186 journalists have been killed since 1986, when democracy was restored after the 20-year rule of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Media watchdogs have reported that 12 media workers have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in 2016.
Sister Mananzan said the country needs journalists and media practitioners who are "socially-oriented and gender sensitive" because they are being "persecuted and arrested."
"Because who will fight creeping militarization? Who will fight against growing tyranny? Who will have the courage to come out and protest or offer a critique of what is happening in our government?" added the nun.
Sister Mananzan, the school's vice president for external affairs and director of its Institute of Women’s Studies, lauded the recipients of this year's Hildegarde Awards, now in their 13th year and which were named after a 12th century Benedictine saint — Hildegarde von Bingen.
"I think they are inspiring so many people to also have courage, and to stand out and speak out against corruption, against all the injustices that we are experiencing in our times," said Sister Mananzan.
In her acceptance speech, Rappler's Evangelista said she was "honored to stand ... with some of those women whose courage allowed my generation of reporters the right to call ourselves members of what was once the freest press in Asia."
Other recipients included documentary filmmaker Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala for her work on cancer awareness and Melinda Quintos de Jesus of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.
In a statement, the school said the Hildegarde Awards "were envisioned as a way through which women's ways of going about media work can be documented over time so that these best practices can serve as models and duplicated by future media practitioners."