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Sun.Star editor is '08 Gawad Plaridel awardee

MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines in Diliman bestowed on Friday the prestigious Gawad Plaridel Award to a Cebu-based print journalist who has helped bolster the community press in the country. In a program held at the UP Cine Adarna in Quezon City at 2 p.m., veteran community paperman and lawyer Pachico Seares was singled out for “giving identity and honor to community journalists and being a role model of professionalism for students, colleagues, and aspiring journalists." Seares is the editor-in-chief of a leading community broadsheet paper in Cebu province, Sun.Star Cebu; and the tabloid, Sun.Star Superbalita Cebu. The Gawad Plaridel, named after the nom de plume used by Filipino propagandist Marcelo H. del Pilar, is the lone award being handed out by the UP Diliman for outstanding practitioners in the field of mass media and communication. From its very first recipient in 2004, veteran print journalist Eugenia Duran-Apostol, the Gawad Plaridel has gone on to recognize other media luminaries including Lipa City, Batangas Mayor Vilma Santos in 2005; seasoned radio broadcaster Fidela “Tiya Dely" Magpayo in 2006; and Cecilia Lazaro last year. This year’s two-part awards program consisted of the bestowing of the Gawad Plaridel wooden trophy, specifically sculpted by National Artist Napolen Abueva, and the recipient’s delivery of a lecture on a selected issue on media. In his lecture entitled “The Futures of Community Newspapers," the Cebu-based awardee underscored the problems that community journalists hurdle until now, including financial setbacks, the lack of trained reporters, corruption, and even what he considered a “lukewarm market." Stressing that members of the media can get around the financial constraints of the profession, especially for those in the communities, Seares said that it helps to hold on to the basic tenets of journalism. “Good journalism is good business," he added. “The closest media can get to the elusive truth is to get the facts right," added Seares, who also became an executive director of the Cebu Citizens-Press Council. Addressing students, faculty members, and fellow practitioners, Seares also advised that they should not be intimidated when trying out novel ideas in the media profession. – Johanna Camille Sisante, GMANews.TV