BROADCAST journalist Atom Araullo is one of the 59 winners of this year’s Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.
Araullo bagged first place in the essay category for his piece “Letter from Tawi-Tawi” published in GMA News Online.
In his award-winning work, Araullo tells the story of Sidang from Tawi-Tawi, who teaches writing and reading to kids to battle illiteracy in the remote community.
Araullo narrates a day in her life and talks about the students and their families she visited.
Sidang works for a non-government organization and comes to the students’ houses in offshore communities with her arsenal of visual aids and reading materials to teach them the basics, as they could not afford to visit the island where the nearest school is located.
Araullo’s essay also touched on the poverty and the lack of opportunities for the residents of the small Tawi-Tawi community, who make a meager living from the sea.
He talked about the adult residents’ effort to learn to read and write as well, skills that would counter the practice of using indigenous peoples like them for cheating operations during elections.
He shared the views of an NGO coordinator who underscored the importance of educating residents about the significance of the elections and of using their power to vote wisely instead of just allowing it to be bought.
Election education would make for better citizens, the NGO worker said.
“But who will provide that education? Would those who benefit from the status quo lift a finger?” Araullo mused in his essay.
Araullo is currently an anchor, host, and documentary producer for GMA News.
He began appearing on TV as a child as part of the show 5 and Up, and later hosted a morning show on Studio 23.
He went on to become a reporter for ABS-CBN and hosted its morning show Umagang Kay Ganda.
In 2017, he moved to GMA to join the public affairs show I-Witness.
Photo credits: Palanca website, Atom Araullo Facebook