The station manager of an AM station who almost drowned during Typhoon Yolanda was recently received the Gawad Plaridel, the most prestigious award given by the University of the Philippines (UP) to a media practitioner.
The awardee, Francisca “Babes” Custodio, began her career in the broadcasting industry in 1964 as an aide in the accounting and traffic departments of the Manila Broadcasting Company AM station DYVL – Tacloban City.
The award is named after Marcelo H. del Pilar, who wrote under the pen name Plaridel. Every year, UP bestows the award on a single media practitioner – in print, radio, television, transmedia, or film – who has demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and integrity.
Siday and Waray-Waray UP President Alfredo Pascual praised Custodio for creating the radio program DYVL Siday, the only program in Eastern Visayas that provides a platform for Waray-Waray creative writers to showcase their poems addressing issues about the environment, government and politics, education and culture, and other pressing social concerns.
An anthology of the best poems that aired over DYVL Siday has been published as a book, the product of a collaborative effort between the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts and the Leyte provincial government headed by Gov. Remedios Petilla.
Yolanda survivor Custodio was on the job when a massive storm surge crashed into and gutted the two-storey Tacloban City broadcast facility of DYVL at the height of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
Yolanda claimed the lives of one DVYL technician and one DYVL reporter; and had a co-worker not seen Custodio’s headed bobbing in the flood waters, Yolanda would have claimed the life of DYVL’s station manager, too.
The co-worker pulled Custodio up by her hair and found her immediate medical care.