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Front Row executive producer Joseph Laban received the UNICEF Asia Pacific Child Rights Award in Macau last October 27

Front Row executive producer Joseph Laban received the UNICEF Asia Pacific Child Rights Award in Macau last October 27

Front Row won Grand Prize at the UNICEF Asia Pacific Child Rights Award for Television for its documentary Ulilang Lubos

Front Row won Grand Prize at the UNICEF Asia Pacific Child Rights Award for Television for its documentary Ulilang Lubos

One of GMA Network’s award-winning documentary programs, Front Row is this year’s winner of the prestigious UNICEF Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award for Television.

Its winning documentary, “Ulilang Lubos” (Orphaned) follows the daily life of 10-year-old Princess, who has had to take care of three younger siblings since their mother abandoned them. Princess washes produce at a wet market to earn money. She receives five to 20 pesos for this.

After working the entire morning, Princess then proceeds to her second job: scavenging. She has to do this every day to feed herself and her siblings.

“I haven’t seen my mom since she left us three years ago,” Princess says. “We started scavenging to get some money and asking around for food. Sometimes we don’t have anything to eat and our stomachs hurt. We sleep on cardboard boxes on the floor. I envy my friends because they go to school but I don’t.”

“Front Row: Ulilang Lubos” was praised by the jurors for reflecting the vulnerable children’s world in their own eyes. “It was very effective,” they said. “There are many heartbreaking moments in this film. The interviews were handled with sensitivity and the three children came across as everyday kids. Their interaction during bath and meal times was very naturalistic, as if the cameras weren’t there. This is a powerful story that really captured the plight of these children.”

 

The UNICEF further says, “Front Row: Orphaned is a powerful piece of television. It shows the importance of protecting and nurturing children, and the strength and resilience they possess, through the eyes of four abandoned children trying desperately to make the most of their lives,” said Christopher de Bono, Chief of Communications, UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific.

 

“It is also a testimony to the value of powerful television storytelling, by motivating all of us to meet our responsibilities and address the suffering of children in need.”   Dr Javad Mottaghi, ABU Secretary-General, said: “To know there are documentary makers of this quality working in our region, chronicling the lives of our most vulnerable children and celebrating the triumph of their young spirits over great adversity, must spur us all on to be the best media messengers we possibly can.

 

‘Front Row: Orphaned’ shows how great documentary-making not only exposes inequality and exploitation but journeys deeper into the human spirit and reminds us that each human being, however young, poor and disadvantaged, carries the light of hope in their soul.” Christopher Slaughter, CEO of CASBAA, said: “CASBAA congratulates GMA Network for their unflinching look at childhood poverty in ‘Front Row: Orphaned’. Our industry reaches hundreds of millions of people around the world daily. It is heartening to see our medium being used as a platform not just for entertainment, but in the service of such a worthy cause as alleviating the plight of children in need.”

 

Managing Producer Joseph Israel Laban accepted the prestigious UNICEF prize last October 27 at the Asia Broadcasting Union awards ceremony held in Macau. He shared the viewers’ positive response to the program. “Since the documentary aired, one of the children’s relatives has reached out to them. Viewers are now sending two of the children to school and more help is still coming in. But we are hoping for a more permanent and comprehensive solution to address the plight of Filipino orphans, perhaps with better Government facilities to take care of them and their basic needs.”

 

The UNICEF Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award was established by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), CASBAA and UNICEF in 2001. It recognizes the efforts of broadcasters and producers in pursuing high quality children’s television and better coverage of children’s issues, and is given each year to the best programme on children’s rights produced in the Asia-Pacific region.

Front Row’s “Ulilang Lubos” also previously won a Silver Screen Award at the 2014 United States International Film and Video Festival and received a Finalist citation at the 2014 URTI Grand Prix for Author’s Documentary in Monaco, the sole Philippine program to be honoured this year.

 

Kapuso viewers abroad can catch the multi-awarded documentary program Front Row on GMA News TV International, which is available to subscribers in the Asia Pacific, Middle East, North Africa, and Canada.

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Our government cannot implement changes within each of its many departments, which is why we are lagging behind our Asian counterparts.  It is because each individual, especially those who are in the higher chain of command, has each their own agenda.  Changes that is crucial for the country to grow are being hampered, as it might prove to be a money losing option for the departments management.  Each one is in it to enrich himself/herself, no one is looking for the benefit of the country, and for the improvement of the lives of millions of Filipinos, impoverished or otherwise.

Why can’t we copy or duplicate the methods used by other countries in implementing changes that would improve the lives of its citizens? Do not think of it as not being original, or plagiarizing, but think of it as improving the lives of every Filipino.

In Hong Kong, the Mass Transit Railway is controlled by the government, and so is the payment system that it uses, the Octopus Card.  They have proven and shown that the business is sound and profitable earning the government billions of dollars in revenue, while at the same time creating a clean, convenient, and comfortable mass transport and payment system, that has been a great factor in improving the lives of its citizens.  Why can’t we adopt their system, and duplicate it here? What is stopping us?

Why are our airports dilapidated and in shambles? Where has all the money that has been invested into it go? Why do we need too many terminals? Can’t we create one mega terminal to service all of the flights? This would eliminate unnecessary employment to numerous individuals, who sometimes do nothing, and just sit around, beefing up their pockets? Why can’t we copy Hong Kong (again), and the way it runs its airport? Their airport and ours are so far apart.  The only difference I see here is because the head of the governments, compliment and continue what the previous head of government has done, unlike here, the new one undermines and destroys the good that the previous one has done.  Don’t they know that these improvements would have bettered the lives of the millions of Filipinos?

Why are our mass transport systems unstructured and in shambles? Why are there numerous buses who are old, and dilapidated that still ply the streets, which breakdown, create traffic, and causes accidents? Why are their franchises renewed time and time again, and are not revoked even if their buses have cause numerous accidents, and unnecessary deaths? Why are there so many taxis, jeeps, tricycles, and other forms of mass transport franchises that are approved, even if the streets are littered with them, who do not have passengers?

Why does the government not install solar powered lights or provide solar energy to those affected by disaster, and isolation, even if it takes years for the energy providers to repair or install light or power? Why does the government wait and see, and not help improve the plight of the Filipinos? Are they afraid that power generators/energy suppliers complain? They can remove or pull out these improvements, when they have repaired or installed light or electricity, and simply transfer or reuse them again when the need arise.

I am not one to complain, but I have seen enough suffering and not enough action, that it has left me wondering and disgruntled by the inept and inaction that our government is doing.  When can we be proud? When can we say that our lives have improved? When will our descendants see the day that our beloved Philippines, is at par with the rest of the world, or at least with its Asian neighbors?

This was taken from an article in InterAksyon.com.

‘DEAR TATAY’ | Letter from a daughter, now a mother, to a desaparecido

By: InterAksyon.com
February 19, 2013 3:52 PM

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Tatay” is Leo Velasco, a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines who was abducted in Cagayan de Oro City on February 19, 2007, by men believed to be military agents. Almost three years since President Benigno Aquino III came to office, he remains missing, one of 11 NDF consultants and staff forcible disappeared. In this letter, Velasco’s daughter Aya, who is now a mother, bares her thoughts on her father’s disappearance and the future she sees in store for her own child.)

Dear Tatay,

I am writing you again a letter that I am not sure if you will be able to read.

I guess I am still writing you, even after six years of your disappearance, for my own comfort. I’d like to think that maybe somehow my message will reach you. I would like to imagine that while reading my letter, you’ll smile and maybe, just maybe, you’ll answer this.

Because I want to tell you that you have a very handsome and healthy grandson. His name is Ron Eliseo. I named him after Nanay, Elizabeth and of course, you, Leo. ELISEO. Do you like his name? Then you’ll probably smile and say, “best name.”

Eliseo just turned one year old this month. You don’t know how much I want you to meet him. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with him, too, like so many of his Titos and Titas do. I hope that he grows up to be as smart, compassionate, humble and as happy as his Lolo Leo.

Yet, it pains me that he does not have the chance to meet you. He could have learned so much from you, like I did.

Six years, Tay. Six long years. I have not stopped fighting for justice since then. Together with other families of the desaparecidos, we continue this struggle even if it takes 10, 20, or more years.

I would like to tell you that finally a law criminalizing the act of enforced disappearance was just enacted. Our group, Families of Desaparecidos for Justice, was a part of the committee that wrote its Implementing Rules and Regulations. Families of victims of enforced disappearances can now file a case in court under this act. And because this is considered as continuing crime, those who were disappeared before the enactment of this law who are still missing can still file a case in court.

I can now work for the prosecution of your abductors, Tatay. I can make all of them rot in jail. But how? I don’t know who they are. Witnesses to your abduction are too afraid to be involved. All I know is that you were abducted by the Arroyo government and that this current government is still hiding you.

I do not want keep my hopes high that this law will bring you back home. I know, from what you had taught me, it takes more than an enactment of a law to bring about justice.

I spend this day with pain and sadness because six years ago, the State took you away from us, and we had to live our lives without your hugs, your voice and most of all without you.

I realize, now that I am a parent too, that this society is too violent for Eliseo to grow up in. I cannot bear the idea of him suffering because of the illnesses of this society, yet I know I will not be there to protect him at all times. Like you, I would have to trust that he will learn to have strength and courage to face hardships. And like you and Nanay, we continue to be part of a movement for a real and meaningful change for our children’s and grandchildren’s future. Now I understand the choices you took earlier in life and why you stayed with held on to those principles.

Take care, Tatay.

There is not a day that I didn’t miss you.

 

Love and kisses,

Aya and Eliseo

 

In my previous blogs, I have pointed out the benefits of technology in our daily lives.  Now with this blog I am pointing out how technology can affect, the stability of the country, and also the lives of its citizen.  The advent of technology has made our lives easier.  From smartphones, which we depend not only to make calls but also to take picture and upload them to our Facebook or Instagram, to smart TV’s, which not only shows us TV shows but also allows us to surf the web, to smart appliances, such as smart fridge which not only keeps our food fresh but also informs you by sending you an SMS, when you are running low on eggs, milk, or orange juice for your next grocery shopping.

Now I am blogging about how technology can adversely affect the stability of the country, and affect our lives as well.  The 2013 election is coming.  This election is where we vote for Congressmen, Senator, and local officials, who would be the ones coming up with laws, and pass bills, which would either make our lives easier or harder.  The COMELEC (Commission on Election) said they would be using AES (Automated Election System), to make the elections automated, easier, and safer.  But there has been news circulating that the AES is not yet perfected, and has flaws/bugs.  It is also touted to be hack free, but that information also seems to be false as well.  Will we be relying the future of our country, our children, our lives on this untested technology? Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the advancement of technology, and it’s benefits, but if the technology has not been tested and would affect all of our lives, then I am against it.

GOVT Watch 1That is why, I firmly believe in the advocacies of, Mr. Raul T. Concepcion, which is the GOVT Watch.  Would the use of the AES bring about clean and honest elections in the coming May 13, 2013 elections? I am asking you, readers of my blog, to send your views and comments to the details provided above.

Take your stand and show that you care! Care for yourself, your children, your future, and the country! Let us show the government, that we want to be part of the change of this country! A change for the better!