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PDI’s Read-Along program cited for youth empowerment

MANILA, Philippines — The Inquirer Read-Along program was recognized for its youth empowerment initiatives in the 13th Hildegarde Awards given by St. Scholastica’s College (SSC) in Manila on April 24.

The awardees were chosen based on their merits and qualifications consistent with Benedictine standards, said Patricia Janine Ealdama, chair of SSC’s Mass Communication Department.

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In accepting the recognition, Minerva Generalao, Research Department Head and Inquirer Read-Along project coordinator, said it validated the newspaper’s mission to reach out to kids and help them acquire reading skills in the digital era.

“In the long run, our vision for the Read-Along is to build a nation of informed readers who would know how to reject fake news,” Generalao said.

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Sr. Mary John Mananzan, SSC vice president for external affairs, described the awardees as “endangered species” who have showed courage amid persecution and intimidation of the Duterte administration.

“All the more they’re needed in our times because who will fight the creeping militarization? Who will fight against the growing tyranny? Who will have the courage to come out in protest or in critic of what is happening in our government?” Mananzan said in her opening remarks.

Courage to speak out

“[The awardees] are inspiring so many people to also have courage to stand up and speak out against corruption and against all the injustices that we are experiencing in our times,” she added.

Since 2007, SSC has bestowed the award to recognize the outstanding achievements of women and institutions in mass media and related fields.

Women awardees were: Lizelle Maralag, GMA Network’s chief marketing officer (Advertising); Melinda Quintos de Jesus, executive director of Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (Print); Patricia Evangelista, Rappler’s multimedia and investigative journalist (Broadcast); and Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, founder of ICanServe Foundation and daughter of the late Inquirer editor in chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc (Development Communication).

The award was named after St. Hildegarde of Bingen, a nun of the Benedictine order. —Rafael L. Antonio, Inquirer Research

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