Reporter’s Notebook, The Atom Araullo Specials triumph at London’s AIBs

Two compelling documentaries produced by GMA Network—“Reporter’s Notebook: Batas ng Karagatan” and “The Atom Araullo Specials: Babies4sale.Ph”—gave honors to the Philippines at the prestigious 2019 Association for International Broadcasting Awards (AIBs) held in London on November 6.

Investigative news magazine program Reporter’s Notebook received the “Highly Commended” award in the Politics and Business category for its “Batas ng Karagatan” while“The Atom Araullo Specials: Babies4sale.Ph” earned another“Highly Commended” honor in the Investigative Documentary category.

In the three-part special “Batas ng Karagatan”, Reporter’s Notebook embarked on a journey aboard a 76-foot boat to document the lives of Filipino fishermen in Panatag Shoal, also known as Scarborough Shoal—a traditional fishing ground within the 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines. Here the fishermen revealed that the Chinese Coast Guard had made a habit of taking the best among their catch. They also decried the destruction of the shoal’s coral bed. Reporter’s Notebook team documented up close, for the first time, the rubble of dead coral underwater. This report by Jun Veneracion and Maki Pulido prompted a direct response from Malacañang and China.

Meanwhile, “Babies4Sale.Ph” probed deeper into the appalling practice perpetrated by “adoption pages” on Facebook. Atom met with 20-year-old “Christine”, who admitted to being a B-Mom or Birth Mom—a person selling her newborn. Her baby’s father allegedly left her and she’d rather sell her two-month-old child for P35,000, than raise the child on her own. While the team was working on this special report, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) uncovered this illegal practice and organized an entrapment operation. They arrested a group that included a mother and an agent or middleman, who were caught selling an 11-day-old baby for P40,000. The team coordinated with Facebook Philippines and at the same day of the worldwide airing, Facebook took down the “adoption pages” that sell babies.

Receiving the awards for the Philippines and GMA Network were Senior AVP for GMA Public Affairs Arlene Carnay, Reporter’s Notebook Program Manager Angeli Atienza, and Public Affairs host Atom Araullo.

The Association for International Broadcasting is the “only global alliance of media companies that deliver, or support the delivery of, cross-border and multi-platform international broadcasting”. The AIBs is its annual production awards which recognizes factual video, audio, and interactive productions across all continents.