I-Witness wins prestigious Peabody Journalism AwardPosted on April 8th, 2010 under We are Pinoys!
Living up to its title as Philippine television’s finest hour, I-Witness wins the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award with its episode Ambulansiyang de Paa. In its 69th year, the Peabody Awards shall bestow accolades to 36 critically-acclaimed programs all over the world.
Hosted by Kara David, Ambulansiyang de Paa showed how residents of a poor Mangyan community of Apnagan in upland Oriental Mindoro transport their sick and injured to medical care. It aired March 2009.
“Condemning deplorable conditions while celebrating neighborly valor and ingenuity, the report shows how people in a poor village carry their sick and injured over dangerous terrain to distant medical care using ‘ambulances on foot,’” the Peabody Awards site states.
This is the second time that the Kapuso Network was recognized by the Peabody Awards. In 1999, the documentaries Kidneys for Sale and Kamao by Jessica Soho and her I-Witness team and Jay Taruc’s child labor story on Brigada Siete brought home the country’s first ever Peabody.
“Winning the Peabody for the second time is a great honor and blessing for GMA News and Public Affairs and the Philippines,” GMA Network’s SVP for News and Public Affairs Marissa Flores said. “We are inspired to do even better.”
“It hasn’t sunk in,” said host Kara. While happy, she also admitted to feeling guilty about winning an award when “there has been little change” in the subject of her documentary. A year after the documentary aired, she said there is still no health center in the barangay.
Executive producer Angel Directo adds, “More than the honor this award brings, we hope that this will draw more attention to the plight of those without proper health care in the country so that their conditions may finally improve.”
Director Nowell Cuanang, on the other hand, said shooting in such a remote, rugged place was an enlightening experience.
“I almost fell off a cliff, almost got bitten by a snake. But we were touched by the Mangyans. Despite their conditions, they weren’t complaining, and were always smiling… Their foot ambulance required unity and team work. It was a triumph of the human spirit,” he said.
Other members of the I-Witness team are former program manager Kristoffer Brugada, cameramanDisney Carreon and researcher Wilma Sesaldo.
Being the only news and public affairs organization in the country to be awarded with the prestigious award for excellence in broadcast journalism further affirms GMA Network’s position as the country’s undisputed authority in news and public affairs.
The 69th Annual Peabody Awards ceremony will be held on May 17 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City and will be hosted by Diane Sawyer, the award-winning anchor of ABC’s World News.