The Order of the Carmelites in the Philippines have honored five local journalists this year with the Titus Brandsma Award, a recognition named after a Dutch priest who was killed during World War II.
“The Titus Brandsma Award recognizes Filipino journalists and media workers who best epitomize the life and principles of Titus Brandsma,” said Carmelite Father Artemio Jusayan, prior provincial of the congregation.
This year’s recipients of the award were journalists Eduardo Lingao, Christian Esguerra, Luis Teodoro, Regina Paz Lopez, Jesuit priest James Reuter, and archivist Belina San Buenaventura-Capul.
Lopez, who died in August, was honored for her leadership in environmental communication and advocacy, while Father Reuter, who died in December 2012, was given a lifetime achievement award.
“Titus commitment to peace and reconciliation is as relevant today as in this life,” said Father Jusayan. “His spirit reminds and challenges us to be instruments of peace and reconciliation,” he added.
Martyr of press freedom
Titus Brandsma was a Dutch Carmelite priest, journalist, and educator who was arrested, tortured, and killed by lethal injection in the Dachau concentration camp, southern Germany, on July 26, 1942.
He was an outspoken opponent of the Nazis who sought to preach and to write to defend the Dutch Jews and to oppose Nazi control of Catholic schools and Catholic newspapers in the Netherlands.
On Nov. 3, 1985, Pope St. John Paul II beatified Blessed Titus Brandsma, who is also known as the “martyr of press freedom.”
‘Seeking the truth’
The award is the country’s version of the International Titus Brandsma Award given by the International Christian Organization of the Media, the Dutch Bishops’ Conference, and the Dutch Carmel Province.
In his speech, veteran journalist Luis Teodoro said he is accepting the award “on behalf of the many journalists across the country,” who despite attacks and censorship, “continue the necessary task of seeking the truth and reporting it.”
Teodoro, who was named Press Freedom awardee, dedicated the award to the 155 journalists and media workers who have been killed since the 1970s, including the 32 who were killed in the 2009 massacre in Mindanao.