WITH eight awards, GMA 7 went home as the most awarded television station during the second USTV Awards at the Medicine Auditorium last Jan. 20.

Unlike last year, when GMA received the best television network recognition by sweeping the news and public affairs category, the station outshone its rival, ABS-CBN 2, by garnering most of this year’s awards for entertainment: Encantadia for students’ choice of drama mini-series; Full House for students’ choice of foreign soap opera; Extra Challenge for student’s choice of reality program; and Eat Bulaga! for student’s choice of variety show.

The gag show Bubble Gang was hailed students’ choice of comedy program for the second time.

Other repeat winners were Studio 23’s F for students’ choice of magazine program, ABS-CBN’s The Buzz for students’ choice of entertainment news show, and Maalaala Mo Kaya for students’ choice of drama program.

The two stations evenly divided the awards for the news and public affairs category. GMA’s Imbestigador won the students’ choice of documentary program while the ABS-CBN’s reformatted TV Patrol World became the students’ choice of news program.

The students’ choice of local male and female news and public affairs program hosts also came from the two giant stations: Mike Enriquez of 24 Oras and Korina Sanchez of Rated K.

Thomasians also picked youth-oriented shows aired on ABS-CBN’s sister network, Studio 23: Sineskuwela for students’ choice of educational program, and Y-Speak for students’ choice of public affairs talk show program.

Y-Spear host Bianca Gonzales, after receiving the award, encouraged the Thomasian community to “make their voices heard.”

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“The student’s choice awards (are) made by and for the students,” Gonzales said. “We share the same passion. Naniniwala kami na importante ang boses ng kabataan.”

In the individual awards, former UST College of Fine Arts and Design student Iza Calzado was awarded the students’ choice of actress in a drama mini series for her role as Reyna Amihan in GMA’s Encantadia.

“Inaalay ko ito sa lahat ng mga estudyanteng narito,” said a teary-eyed Calzado. “Never think that you cannot do anything. Nothing is impossible as long as you put your faith in it.”

Matinee idol John Lloyd Cruz won the award for students’ choice of actor in the drama mini-series for portraying Oliver in Ikaw ang Lahat sa Akin.

The Day You Said Goodnight of the band Hale got the student’s choice for music video award. The band, mostly composed of students from the UST Conservatory of Music, received its trophy from Conservatory Dean Raul Sunico.

Aside from the winners, various celebrities graced the awards night. Former Pinoy Big Brother housemate Say Alonzo delivered a song number while teen idol Mark Herras did a dance number. The Going Bulilit kids also delighted Thomasians with a performance.

The awards covered programs aired between May and September 2005. Some 9,000 students took part in the voting. The UST Social Research Center collated and interpreted the results, which were verified by a panel of consultants composed of University officials, faculty members, student leaders, and media experts.

USTV chairman and University Secretary General Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P., in his speech during the awards night, stressed the awards were conducted primarily to develop quality and Christian-oriented taste for television.

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“This undertaking is more of a guide for values introspection among our students,” Abaño said. “It should never be construed as a way to promote the ratings of television channels.” Marlene H. Elmenzo

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