INQFocus writer wins big in Think Pink Awards; PDI correspondent is finalist

INQFocus writer wins big in Think Pink Awards; PDI correspondent is finalist

Composite image of INQFocus writer Cristina Baclig and her Think Pink Awards plaque and certificate. ED LUSTAN

MANILA, Philippines — A researcher and writer for INQFocus, a team in dedicated to special and investigative reports, was recognized as the Outstanding NCR (National Capital Region) Journalist in the first-ever Think Pink Awards on Outstanding Stories on breast cancer.

Cristina Eloisa Baclig, who wrote a three-part report on breast cancer last year for INQFocus, was declared one of the winners of the Think Pink Awards, which was held on April 24 at the Century Park Hotel in Manila to recognize media’s vital role in health literacy, and as catalysts in showing that breast cancer is no longer a death sentence.

The first part, “Cancer burden: Draining people’s lives, pockets”, was published on Oct. 4, while the second part, “NICCA, law to help PH cancer patients, awaits full implementation”, went live on Oct. 6, 2023. The last part, “Breast cancer: ‘No longer a death sentence’”, was published on Oct. 11 of the same year.

An initiative by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, Novartis Healthcare Philippines and ICanServe Foundation, the Think Pink Awards recognized outstanding stories from the “Think Pink: Health Reporting on Breast Cancer in the Philippines 2023” Fellowship.

As pointed out by Kevin Zou, president of the Asia Cluster of pharmaceutical company Novartis, “health literacy is vital in empowering patients and caregivers to use and understand health information service,” stressing that high level of literacy could be a game-changer.

RECOGNIZED. INQFocus writer Cristina Baclig and Inquirer SL Bureau’s Madonna Virola, after receiving their Think Pink Awards for their stories on breast cancer—grand prize and finalist, respectively.

“High level of literacy could facilitate early diagnosis and enhance treatment outcomes in many diseases, including breast cancer, which is the most common cancer in women in vast majorities of countries worldwide, including the Philippines,” Zou said in his speech.

“Your work is making a difference in the lives of Filipino breast cancer survivors and their families,” he said as he congratulated the winners and all the journalists who took part in last year’s fellowship, which was made possible through the partnership of PPI, Novartis Healthcare Philippines and ICanServe Foundation.

Other winners were Palawan News (Outstanding Community Newspaper – Weekly), MindaNews (Outstanding Community Newspaper – Daily), and Yas Ocampo (Outstanding Community Journalist).

Madonna Virola, Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Southern Luzon Bureau correspondent, was among the finalists for Outstanding NCR Journalist.

As pointed out by Sen. Pia Cayetano, a breast cancer advocate herself, there is a need for breast cancer stories “to be told in a personal way, a creative way, in a way that will make a difference to the people who are reading these stories.”

“I honor the people who tell these stories,” she said, expressing her gratitude to journalists who make breast cancer reporting possible, echoing what Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said: “Telling these stories about cancer and the struggle of women who fight cancer […] are important.”