TNPicks: Our Appreciation List for 2023

More than three years since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, it seems that most Filipinos have finally adjusted back to their pre-pandemic lives. While this is a welcome development, people were rather greeted by a myriad of problems, both preexisting and new, as they returned to universities, workplaces and in-person setups.

Campus journalists, then, knew they had to step up to amplify the concerns of their fellow students and speak up about contemporary issues within and outside the country.

Wrapping up 2023, our editors collated their favorite stories, designs, and productions from our pals in the campus press. In this fourth edition of our appreciation list, we tip our hats to student journalists for pursuing stories that matter.

To our colleagues, we thank you for your work.

Tinig ng Plaridel

Jadrien Morales, Multimedia Editor

Top Pick: Sa Masa Ang Kalsada: Dokumentaryo sa Jeepney Phaseout

by UP Baguio Outcrop

Directed by Kaela Torren and Chelsie Asuncion

Script written by Jairus Gatan and Kaela Torren

Research by Chelsie Asuncion, Jose Emmanuel Thayer and Loubea Natinga

Shot by Mike Molina and Hezekiel Oliva

Edited by Hezekiel Oliva

Voice-over by Rachel Ivy Reyes

Assisted by Alexis Asalil

Despite transport strikes and protests throughout the year, the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program continues to threaten the livelihoods of over 200,000 transport workers. Now that the government has made its final decision, drivers who have not joined cooperatives are confronted with a crucial decision: comply or lose their jobs.

This documentary from Outcrop provides an in-depth look into the program’s repercussions, giving voice to drivers, operators and commuters in Baguio City as they face an uncertain future. It highlights the PUVMP’s potential to exacerbate an existing transport crisis, leaving thousands stranded in the wake of “progress.”

Bonus Picks: Cunk on Campus by The Weekly Sillimanian; Kita Kita by The Benildean; Pro Deo et Patriae: Ang Simbahan sa Panahon ng Batas Militar (Unang Yugto) by The Flame

Azel Cabais, Graphics Editor

Top pick: To be a (public) work of art: Graffiti and vandalism

by Gabby Rosales and Gabrielle Christina Cortes, The GUIDON (Ateneo de Manila University)

This piece from The GUIDON showed that graffiti, as an art, is a form of resistance. We see it randomly placed anywhere we go: on campus, electric posts and even waiting sheds. But as much as it is a usual sight, the state actually considers it vandalism— a crime.

We must be reminded that art should be part of our freedom to express, no matter where and how it is done. To use a canvas— even walls and streets— out in public is to protest. Because if calls are not acknowledged and heard in avenues commonly taken, there’s got to be somewhere else where they can linger and disturb.

Perhaps, people continue to create graffiti despite its criminalization because this is where they can arouse and convey the emotions piled up within them. Thus, such art must not be frowned upon but rather understood and valued.

Bonus picks: Outcrop Tomo 49 Isyu 1 by UP Baguio Outcrop; TAMKOMIKS 2023 by FEU Advocate; The LaSallian’s Online Poptown for March by The LaSallian

Jelena Basilio, Sports Editor

Top pick: Play like a girl 

by Marit Samson of The GUIDON  (Ateneo de Manila University)

The patriarchal influence has long established its strong presence in the male-dominated world of sports. This year, we saw it in discrediting comments against a Filipina racer’s flourishing career, calls to reassign “incompetent” referees to the women’s division, and the obvious number of vacant seats in arenas during women’s matches.

However, just like every other year, women continue to thrive and take space. From international tennis courts to the esports scene, Filipinas power through to reclaim what it means to “play like a girl.”

This piece from The GUIDON sheds light on gender inequality in sports, recognizing that while we have made progress in celebrating women across more sports in recent years, there’s still a lot to be done. 

Bonus picks: The Politics of Becoming a National Athlete by Philippine Collegian; Home away from home: Holidays for foreign student-athletes by The GUIDON; Halftime thoughts: Why do we tolerate financial setbacks as a rite of passage for Filipino athletes? by The LaSallian

Matthew Pacinos, Features Editor

Top pick: Wanted: ‘Innovative, responsive’ SK candidates 

by Eduardo G. Fajermo Jr.,The Varsitarian (University of Santo Tomas)

More than ever, the recently concluded Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections played a key role in putting into perspective the country’s fate in yet another Marcos regime. As censorship and red-tagging continue to haunt progressive groups and vocal youth leaders, the call for reforms in the country’s basic unit of government also persists as citizens seek better representation.

Varsitarian’s in-depth special report foregrounded the multiple issues hounding the different layers of the barangay system. By interviewing political experts and the youth, both students and aspirants, the piece exposes the realities on the ground and provided ways on how youth representation must move towards innovative leadership.

Bonus picks: Paano na ang mga mangingisda? by The Benildean; Pride and prejudice: Reconciling queerness and religion by The GUIDON; Pabili po! Mga istorya ng pangarap sa mga nagbebenta by Tanglaw

Albert Josef Lirio, News Editor

Top pick: Ang pagboto ay pagtitiwala

by Tanglaw Editorial Board (University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Development Communication)

This year, the University Student Council (USC) elections in UP Diliman were plagued with the issue of abstention votes and whether such option should be recognized as legitimate. The decision of the University Student Electoral Board to withhold proclaiming candidates who got fewer votes than abstain had a mixed reception among the electorate.

Tanglaw’s editorial offers a sober refresher on what the dominance of the abstain vote means for candidates. Their manner of laying out their points is a good starting point in clearing out the discussion on the validity of abstentions and how it should be looked at as a challenge to parties and candidates to do better.

I could not have written the editorial better.

Bonus Picks: Kung Paano Kumaharap sa Pighati ng Pagkawala by UP Baguio Outcrop; One kilometer per hour by The GUIDON; The College Forum’s AI Newscaster by The College Forum

Karmela Melgarejo, Managing Editor

Top Pick: Fragmented into (PEACE)s  

by Bagwis Editorial Board (Mindanao State University)

The recent bombing of a gymnasium at Mindanao State University revealed the lack of security measures and substandard facilities within the campus. In their editorial, Bagwis recognized that the implementation of security protocols has always been a reactionary response to recent incidents, rather than an inherent part of the campus’ established procedures.

One thing the publication did not miss is the fact that peace in today’s society has become a privilege for only a select few. They critically reinforced that the standards of safety and security must not be defined by any status quo. 

In a society riddled with continuous human rights attacks, disparities and constant killings, let us remember that safety is not just a requirement or mere compliance but a fundamental right for all.

Bonus Picks: Brothers-in-Oppression: The Familiar Face of Genocide in the Philippines by PUP The Catalyst; Kaming Mga Iniwan sa Sakuna by UP Baguio Outcrop; Fish out of water: The environmental advocate journey by The GUIDON

Andrei Villamiel, Associate Editor

Top Pick: Napipintong reklamasyon, pasakit sa Minglanilla

by Ian Raphael Lopez, Tanglaw (University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Development Communication)

In Minglanilla, Cebu, the local government’s ambitious reclamation project, aimed at transforming coastal areas for development, imperils the rich marine resources and the livelihood of fishing communities. On top of this,  hundreds of families will lose their homes to give way to the project. 

Tanglaw’s piece sheds light on the human and environmental toll associated with unchecked development initiatives. Stories like these beg us asking: “Para kanino ba talaga ang pag-unlad?” 

At a time when development projects that threaten the environment and rural livelihoods are rampant, it is critical that alternative and student publications continue telling the stories and struggles of the masses. 

Bonus Picks: Wading grief: Death and burial for the Sama Badjao by The GUIDON; The Profit Behind Israel’s Apartheid of Palestine by Philippine Collegian; Environmental activists sa rehiyon, nahaharap sa peligro by Tanglaw

Kyle Angelo Cristy, Editor-in-Chief

Top pick: Evading by Diversion

by Jhon Almark Dela Cruz; Cartoon by Kaiser Aaron Caya, The Communicator (Polytechnic University of the Philippines College of Communication)

Amid all the political gymnastics inside the circus headed by Marcos and Duterte, The Communicator did not lose sight of the state’s familiar tactic of escaping accountability. They showed that no matter how loud Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa blabbers about alleged communist recruitment in state universities and colleges, all this will ever be for students is a cheap ploy. 

No amount of red-tagging and parading so-called former rebels can make us forget that he has blood in his hands as the chief architect of the brutal war on drugs and that he continues to antagonize the International Criminal Court.

With a government that persistently toys with the public’s focus and opinion, The Communicator reminds us that student journalists must always look behind theatrics and challenge “official” narratives.

Bonus Picks: Pwede Bang Humingi ng Kaunting Oras Mo? by Philippine Collegian; Apo Namin Remix by The Manila Collegian; The Long Struggle From the River to the Sea by UP Baguio Outcrop