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TOWNS 2016 awardee Patricia Evangelista: Silence is consent

Patty Pasion
TOWNS 2016 awardee Patricia Evangelista: Silence is consent

LeAnne Jazul

'Our job today is to remember. Give the dead names, faces, stories – beyond the fact that they were one in 4,000 or 5,000 or 30,000 killed,' says 2016 TOWNS awardee for media Patricia Evangelista

MANILA, Philippines – Rappler’s Patricia Evangelista added another item in her running list of recognitions as she was given the TOWNS award (The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service) for media on Thursday, November 17. 

In her acceptance speech, Evangelista, who reports on conflict, trauma, and human rights for Rappler, paid homage to victims killed in the government’s brutal war against illegal drugs.

“As we gather here tonight, somewhere in the city, in some dark alley, someone will die. Shot in the back of the head; swathed in packaging tape, tossed on a street corner by hooded men on motorcycles,” she said as she opened her speech with the story of slain accused drug dealer Jerico Camitan.

“There will be a keening mother, there will be an orphan child. There will be a new number at dawn to be added to thousands of casualties in a war with no end in sight,” she continued.

“At a time of untruths and brutality,” the TOWNS awardee said that “remembering and giving the dead names, faces, stories” is a protest against the status quo. 

“I think of journalism as protest. Our silence is consent. My commitment to TOWNS is to bear witness. To tell stories in an attempt to make the public imagine what it is to sit in front of a coffin and say, ‘Jerico, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.’”

“My commitment is to keep trying – to keep the faith, to keep the record straight, in the hope that one morning there will be no more new names for us to remember,” she said. 

Top notch, fearless

Evangelista joins the ranks of 13 other awardees in media and journalism, including Rappler CEO Maria Ressa (2007), the late Inquirer editor-in-chief Leticia Jimenez-Magsanoc (1981) and Probe Productions founding president Cecilia Lazaro (1989), among others.

TOWNS Foundations recognized Evangelista for her “top-notch and fearless” work in three platforms of media – print, video, and photography. 

Prior to joining Rappler, she was a young columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. But she is best known for establishing Storyline Company Productions, which produces heartfelt documentaries aired via the ABS-CBN News Channel. 

Among Evangelista’s list of recognitions are: Agence France Presse Kate Webb Award, New York Festivals Prize, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) Ani ng Dangal for Broadcast Arts.

She is also the only woman in this year’s Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Awards.

Other TOWNS awardees for this year are Cherrie Atiliano (social development), Hidilyn Diaz (sports), Luisa Lorenzo (arts), Marissa Martinez (government service), Aisa Mijeno (social enterprise), Sabrina Ongkiko (education), and Jocelle Sigue (information and communications technology). (READ: TOWNS 2016: What makes these women outstanding?)  – 

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.