Chit Estella Awards for Journalism launched
By Yvonne Chua, VERA Files | The Inbox – Fri, Jun 24, 2011
The family of the late VERA Files trustee and journalism professor Lourdes “Chit” Estella-Simbulan and VERA Files launched Tuesday the Chit Estella Awards for Journalism.
The launching was timed with the commemoration of the 40th day of her death and her interment at the San Agustin Church columbarium.
Simbulan, a journalist of three decades, was known to the public by her byline “Chit Estella.” She was killed on the evening of May 13 when a Universal Guiding Star bus rammed the taxi she was in near the Ayala Technohub on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.
VERA Files president Ellen Tordesillas, who unveiled the awards, said the Chit Estella Awards for Journalism will honor the year’s best journalistic report and photo essay in print and online—the media Simbulan worked in—starting next year. The awards are intended to keep alive the excellent and principled journalism Simbulan had always engaged in, she said.
The awarding will be held every August, Simbulan’s birth month. Simbulan would have been 54 on Aug. 19.
The award-giving body will be composed of veteran journalists and journalism teachers and trainers. At the time of her death, Simbulan was a journalism professor of the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
Simbulan’s family is providing the seed funding for the awards that will be administered by VERA Files in cooperation with a university. The mechanics of the awards are being finalized.
Earlier in the day, running priest Robert Reyes and Simbulan’s husband, Roland, led relatives, friends and students in a run on Commonwealth Avenue and Tandang Sora dubbed “Run for Road Safety, Justice for Chit Estella-Simbulan.”
The UP College of Mass Communication also unveiled a photo exhibit in honor of the veteran journalist. It will run till Aug. 19.
By Xianne S. Arcangel
A group of veteran journalists marked the 40th day since the death of professor Lourdes “Chit” Estella-Simbulan with the launch of awards seeking to honor the “best stories in print and online media.”
The Chit Estella Awards for Journalism will recognize outstanding feature, investigative and local stories, as well as photo essays published on the web or in newspapers and magazines, Vera Files president Ellen Tordesillas said Tuesday.
Vera Files is an online news organization set up by veteran journalists reporting on current Philippine issues. “Vera” is Latin for “truth.”
Although the details and the mechanics have yet to be finalized, Tordesillas said the seed money for the award—which will be granted starting next year— will come from the Simbulan family.
Vera Files, meanwhile, will act as the award’s administrator and part of the panel of judges that will include practicing journalists and members of the academe.
The awarding, which will be scheduled in Simbulan’s birth month August, is expected to be followed with journalism lectures given by the winners.
The launch was part of the day-long commemoration of Simbulan’s death, whose urn was brought to its final resting place inside the San Agustin Church Columbarium earlier in the day.
Estella’s husband, University of the Philippines–Manila professor Roland Simbulan placed her urn along with a letter addressed to her and a necklace they bought during a trip to Puerto Galera in 2004 inside a niche near that of renowned painter and political activist Juan Luna.
The niche was sealed with a granite marker bearing her photo and an inscription describing Estella as “a journalist, editor, teacher, committed to the truth and to the empowerment of the oppressed.”
In an interview with Tinig ng Plaridel after the interment, Mr. Simbulan said he hopes the government’s interest in crafting and implementing road safety measures will continue long after his wife’s death.
“It’s good that the government has started something, but I hope they would not be ningas-kugon in implementing the law… Not just when a prominent person dies,” he said in Tagalog.
“Ningas kugon” is a Filipino idiom referring to initiatives that are not sustained.
Simbulan died in a vehicular accident on May 13 when a Universal Guiding Star bus rammed the back of the taxi she was riding in along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.