PCIJ, Vera Files win top honors in JVO awards

INVESTIGATIVE reports on governance and corruption won major prizes in the 20th Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism (JVOAEJ) held today at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati.

PCIJ fellow Roel Landingin’s three-part series on official development assistance (ODA) published on February 11-14, 2008 in the The Philippine Star, Malaya, Manila Times and Sun.Star Cebu, was named best in investigative and explanatory reporting.

Landingin’s report, which capped a six-month review of official documents covering 71 civil works projects funded by the country’s biggest ODA lenders, was cited as an “exemplary inquiry into how government inefficiency and corruption subvert the intent of official development assistance from various countries, detailing the many ways in which bureaucracy, official inertia, as well as malice have further indebted the country to ODA providers while reaping minimum benefits.”

Vera Files’s “Quedancor swine program another fertilizer scam” by Diosa Labiste, Luz Rimban and Yvonne Chua, published in BusinessMirror, Malaya, The Manila Times and Philippines Graphic in September 2008, shared top honors with Landingin’s report. The story was cited as a “thoroughly-documented and meaningful report, a substantial contribution to the urgent necessity to understand the link between the country’s continuing poverty and corruption, and which manages to hold reader attention while provoking thought as well as outrage.”

The two top-prize stories won for their authors plaques of distinction and P75,000 cash prize each. Labiste was also awarded the Marshall McLuhan Prize from the Canadian Embassy.

The JVO Awards also conferred special distinction on the following journalists and their respective stories:

The other finalists in this year’s JVO Awards include:

Special mention was also given to Newsbreak’s magazine issue for July to September 2008 on large-scale mining entitled “The Big Dig” that was also edited by Landingin, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s series of reports on the national broadband network deal controversy.

The prestigious JVOAEJ is organized by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and given in honor of the late Jaime V. Ongpin, press freedom advocate and finance secretary during the administration of Corazon C. Aquino.