CHAMPIONING the pursuits for truth and honesty, the 4th UST Student’s Choice Awards for Television (USTv) steered its way toward recognizing the efforts of people from the television and mass media to continuously radiate their beacons of integrity and sincerity.

With the theme “Education in Integrity: Channeling Honesty and Truth Through the Television,” this year’s criteria for judging made sure that USTv remains faithful to being an award that recognizes the power and contributions of television to creative programming, to social communication and to common solidarity. An appropriate form and an accurate content readily became the two basic criteria for judging of both entertainment and information programs.

Held last Feb. 20 at the Medicine Auditorium, the USTv awards ceremonies were graced by a number of celebrities, student leaders, and school officials such as Rector Rev. Fr. Rolando de la Rosa O.P.

“The 4th USTv have emerged as the powerful voice and critique of the Thomasian student population,” Father De la Rosa said.

Repeating its victory last year, Studio 23 again bagged the coveted award for the Most Responsible Youth-Oriented TV Station for addressing the formative and educative needs of young people with their local programming such as its youth debate/talk show Y-Speak, which also won the award for the Students’ Choice Public Affairs-Talk Show Program and Sineskwela for Students’ Choice of Educational Program.

Despite not bringing home this year’s top award, GMA-7 raked eight USTv trophies on both entertainment and information category. Slamdunk was chosen as winner for the Students’ Choice of Full-Animated Program. Most Popular Gag Show award went to Bubble Gang for the fourth time in a row. Primetime television’s top rater drama Marimar was voted most popular drama mini-series program. The series’ lead stars Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera were this year’s most popular actor and actress respectively.

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Fresh from winning the Silver Screen Awards at the US International Film and Video Awards, I-Witness was awarded as the Students’ Choice of Documentary Program. Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho won the award for the Students’ Choice of Magazine Program.

GMA-7’s Wish Ko Lang shared the Student Judges’ Choice of Public Service Program award with ABS-CBN’s Salamat Doc.

“Before coming up with one episode, we actually undergo so much work and research in order to come up with noteworthy stories, so it really feels good when people recognize us,” said Salamat Doc host Cheryl Cosim.

Just like last year, ABS-CBN took home almost half of the awards. Once more, ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol World was given the Students’ Choice of News Program received by Julius Babao who also became the recipient for the Student’s Choice of Male News and Public Affairs Host. Babao’s co-anchor Karen Davila won her first USTv award for Students’ Choice of Female News and Public Affairs Host.

“It is really an honor to receive such award especially when it come from the students because they indeed speak with integrity,” Babao said.

This year’s USTv Awards brought the category back for most popular entertainment news program with ABS-CBN’s The Buzz as the winner. Showbiz talk show host Boy Abunda received the award for the said show.

“We have come here to show how grateful we are for being part of the USTv and for this, we assure to give you more credible and exclusive news,” Abunda said after accepting the award together with Phoemela Baranda and Ruffa Gutierrez.

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ABS-CBN also took home the trophy for Students’ Choice of Variety Talk Program for the morning talk show Boy and Kris.

Other ABS-CBN entertainment programs which gathered awards included ASAP ‘07 as the most popular variety show, That’s My Doc as the Students’ Choice of Situational Comedy, Princess Hours as the Students’ Choice of Foreign Soap Opera, and Pinoy Big Brother Season 2 as the Students’ Choice of Reality Show. Maalaala Mo Kaya won the award for the Students’ Choice of Drama Anthology for the fourth time this year.

Meanwhile, ABC 5’s Family Rosary Crusade took home the trophy for Students’ Choice of Catholic Program for the second time.

Aside from drama series and news broadcasts, the fourth USTv awards also recognized outstanding tv commercials and music videos. Carrying the theme “Buhay Coke, Buksan Mo”, Coca-Cola’s campaign was named as the Students’ Choice of TV Advertisement, for being able to exhibit the values of sharing and good relationship within the family.

The music video So Far Away by Bamboo was named Students Choice of Music Video and the group as the Students’ Choice of Local Music Video Performer.

Other highlights of the event include the performances of Pinoy Big Brother Season 2 casts Saicy and Mickey and Pinoy Pop Superstar champion Maricris Garcia.

Some 7,000 students participated in the voting. Verified by a panel of judges dominated by students, the UST Social Research Center collated and interpreted the results. Maria Aurora F. Mon

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