WANDERLUST| Datu Bago awards for Times editor, Davao artist

TWO Dabawenyos were conferred the prestigious Datu Bago Award, the highest accolade given by the City Government of Davao to individuals who have “contributed to the development of the city with their exemplary competence and dedication”, in a ceremony held on the eve of the city’s celebration of its 80th charter anniversary, March 15 , at the Royal Mandaya Hotel.

Mindanao Times editor in chief Amalia Bandiola Cabusao and Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” Millan were carefully selected among a handful of finalists by the board members of the Datu Bago Awardees Organization, Inc., as this year’s recipients.


MINDANAO Times editor in chief Amalia Bandiola Cabusao


CABUSAO with her mother, Amparo Bandiola.

A veteran journalist and staunch advocate of campus and community journalism, Cabusao is also a radio anchor for a program on women’s issues over Radio Ukay, a documentary filmmaker, an organizer of journalism workshops for local and international writers, and a proponent of “peace and conflict sensitivity in reporting Mindanao”.

Over the years, she has written community stories and has led in empowering young people, especially women and indigenous youth, through communication and story-telling.


TIMES president and CEO Willlie Torres with Cabusao and Mindanao Times writers and staff


CABUSAO with fellow Datu Bago recipients Irene Santiago and Guillermo Torres, Jr


THIS year’s recipients with the board members of the Datu Bago Awardees Organization, Inc.


PAST and present recipient of the prestigious Datu Bago Award

Cabusao, the first journalist from Mindanao awarded the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Fellowship for Professional Development, is also part of the GET Journalism Institute for Mindanao, a first in the island, that endeavors “developing media research, providing venues for continuing education among journalists and mass communication students”.

Moreover, she is also a fellow of the International Center of Journalists in Washington, DC and is part of the World Editors Forum.

Cabusao is the 13th recipient of the Datu Bago Award from Mindanao Times roster. She now joins the league of Mindanao Times founder Guillermo E. Torres, Sr (1969), former publisher now Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza (1983), late publisher Josefina San Pedro (2002), and president and CEO Guillermo “Willlie” P. Torres, Jr (2011).

Meanwhile, Millan was chosen for his contribution in the development of Davao’s culture and the arts. A prolific artist whose famous works can be found in major sites across Mindanao, he is known for infusing his “works of art with humanity and indigenous culture, deeply rooted in the social context of Mindanao’s grassroots communities.”

A staunch promoter of art and social justice, Millan is also the first Dabawenyo and Filipino artist whose life-size Nativity sculptural diorama was displayed at the St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City in 2010.

Millan, who was abroad at the time of the conferment, was represented by his father, Rey Ernesto Millan, and his children, Kubing, Kunta and Satori.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who was initially tasked to deliver a speech during the program, sent a congratulatory message instead.

“Heroism is not a concept brought by recognitions and praises but an innate human trait stemming from idealism. It lives within us as we keep our belief, optimism, and aspirations alive,” Duterte said.

He also lauded the men and women behind the awardgiving body for “keeping the fire of hope, passion, and courage burning” and for continuing to recognize people who brought honor to Davao City and “made significant contributions in nation-building”.

Created by Mayor Elias B. Lopez in 1969, the Datu Bago Awards have been presented to a total of 158 recipients. Given on the annual occasion of the Davao City’s charter anniversary, the award is a tribute to the brave Moro warrior whose “deeds and heroism has established and defended a settlement called Nueva Vergara”, Davao City’s former name.

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