Kodao’s Villanueva wins Lagerwey communication excellence award on peace

Kodao Productions reporter and editor Raymund B. Villanueva is among this year’s recipient of the 3rd Lagerwey Awards for Communication Excellence, cited for his continuing coverage of the peace process between the Manila government and the revolutionary Left.

The Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA) in a special citation bestowed its communication excellence award on peace to Villanueva for his continuing coverage of the peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The 3rd Lagerwey Awards ceremony was held last Friday, May 5, at the CFA compound in Sta. Mesa, Manila.

“Our awardee continues to strive, to spotlight individuals and initiatives that seek harmonious conditions and to lead constructive public dialogues on issues about justice and equity,” the CFA said.

In his speech, Villanueva asked faith-based institutions such as the CFA, the academe, mass media and other communication initiatives to write more about peace to create a constituency among the people who would demand and work for peace in the Philippines.

“[The peace negotiations] should be talking about human rights, national industrialization, rural development, environmental protection, and the rights of the poor,” Villanueva said.

Villanueva was nominated for the award by Iglesia Filipina Indipendiente Chaplaincy for Europe Bishop Antonio N. Ablon.

A three-decade veteran journalist, Villanueva said peace and social justice are the most important issues for journalists that impact the people’s lives “in the most profound of ways.”

Villanueva authored two books on peace, “Quest for Peace” (Pantas and Kodao, 2020) and “Waylaid Peace” (Pantas and Kodao, 2021), collections of his news reports and essays on the GRP-NDFP peace process.

He is the national chairperson of Altermidya, a national network of independent and community media outfits and a former deputy secretary general of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

Villanueva was also the recipient of other journalism and broadcasting awards, including Gawad Agong, Titus Brandsma Award, and Gandingan Awards.

The list of finalists of the 3rd Lagerway Awards that were each declared winners in different categories.

Media and faith

The awards is named after Fr. Cornelio Lagerwey, a Dutch priest and a Missionary of the Sacred Heart who spent years in parishes across the Philippines after his arrival from Indonesia in 1954.

Fr. Lagerwey first published the Philippine Catholic Digest before founding the Social Communications Center (SCC) with Filipino journalist Genaro Ong in 1965 to produce “socially relevant publications and radio and TV programs.”

Fr. Lagerwey and other SCC top executives were arrested in 1972 when Ferdinand Marcos Sr. declared martial law. SCC’s license to publish was also revoked.

SSC’s name was changed to the CFA in 1975 and continued its work. Lagerwey died in 1995.

The awarding ceremony for 3rd Lagerwey Awards last Friday was the first to be held with the actual presence of organizers and awardees.

The award was established in 2020. #