Ambassador Philip Goldberg presented this year’s US Embassy Manila Ninoy and Cory Aquino Fellowships to a journalist and a captain of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Assisted by the late Ninoy and Cory Aquino’s eldest daughter and the President’s sister Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, and the embassy’s public affairs officer Bettina Malone, Goldberg personally handed plaques of recognition to Amalia “Amy” Bandiola-Cabusao, editor-in-chief of Mindanao Times, and Captain Roy Vincent Trinidad, chief of staff, Joint Task Force, Zambasulta. The awards were presented on February 12 at a ceremony at the Chancery of the US Embassy in Manila.
Cabusao’s Mindanao Times is a community paper adjudged best in editorial by the Philippine Press Institute and the Davao Catholic Mass Media Award. Active as a writer, editor and trainer, she is committed to keeping the Davao community informed of current issues that significantly affect their daily lives and to upholding press freedom and journalistic ethics.
In partnership with the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Section, Cabusao organized training programs for Mindanao journalists that ultimately improved their reporting skills and ensured press freedom and responsibility.
As a firm believer in broad-based citizen participation in a democratic setting, she has also produced several independent films with themes relating to violence against women, abused street children, and the struggle of Muslim women striving for peace in Mindanao.
As part of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Fellowship for Journalism, Cabusao participated in a US State Department funded International Visitor Leadership Program on “Investigative Journalism” in late 2014 where she was inspired to continue pushing for increased press freedom in Mindanao.
Meanwhile, together with the Joint US Military Assistance Group (Jusmag), Captain Roy Vincent Trinidad coordinated relief efforts following Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013. As one of the first officers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to arrive at the disaster center, he immediately assumed command of relief efforts at the Tacloban Airport. Over the course of two weeks, Trinidad worked side-by-side with AFP and Jusmag officials to marshal various relief efforts across military, interagency, non-government organizations, and governmental channels. His tireless leadership was instrumental in opening the airport for relief operations and directly responsible for saving countless lives and alleviating the suffering for many tens of thousands.
As part of the 2015 Ninoy and Cory Aquino Fellowship for Public Service, Trinidad will travel to the United States in August with six other Filipinos to participate in an International Visitor Leadership Program on “Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response and Management.”
The Ninoy and Cory Aquino Fellowship for Professional Development is an exchange program between the US Government and the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation to commemorate the accomplishments of the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and the late President Cory Aquino’s in strengthening Philippine democratic institutions. It aims to honor and acknowledge distinguished individuals who continue to make noteworthy contributions to Philippine society and development.
Previous well-known awardees for Public Service include, among others, Daisy Arellano Sayangda, Lieutenant Junior Grade Roberto Mamaril Beltran. Atty. Mary Ann Arnado, Gov. Arthur Defensor, GSIS Chairman Daniel Lacson, Guillermo Luz, Grace Padaca and Dr. William Padolina.
On the other hand, past Aquino Fellows for Journalism include Abner Mercado, Fr. Eduardo “Ponpon” Cariño Vasquez, Yvonne Chua, Cheche Lazaro, Sen. Loren Legarda, Tina Palma, Luz Rimban, Vergel Santos, Howie Severino, Marites Vitug, and Anthony Taberna.