TFC’s weekly program and “passport to immigration information,” Citizen Pinoy, won the Television Journalism Award – Best Regular TV Program Category in the 2017 Migration Advocacy and Media (MAM) Awards this December.
Attorney Michael J. Gurfinkel, leading U.S. immigration attorney and host of Citizen Pinoy, expressed his gratitude during the awards ceremony held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila, Philippines during International Migrants Day, December 18, 2017. Atty. Gurfinkel said that he is “really humbled and honored about the award because it represents the recognition of the Filipino Overseas Worker and the sacrifices they have made, especially those in America where they leave their families behind, wondering if or when they will ever see their families again.”
Citizen Pinoy (CP) is a weekly program that airs on ABS-CBN International’s TFC. The show specializes in helping the Filipino community deal with immigration issues and legal problems in North America. Atty. Gurfinkel further expounds that the goal of CP was to explain about (immigration) procedures, featuring success stories, to give Filipinos pag-asa (hope). Every success story of Citizen Pinoy is filled with heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories of separation, sacrifice and salvation. Other episodes take on the Q & A format to better answer the concerns of viewers.
The MAM Awards was conceived in 2011 by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) to honor December as the Month of Overseas Filipinos, and to celebrate International Migrants Day in the Philippines every December 18.
The panel of judges for the MAM Awards is headed by CFO Interim OIC Maria Regina Angela Galias, with members from the different migration and media institutions, which include Philippine Migrants Rights Watch, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Philippine Information Agency, Film Development Council of the Philippines, and National Press Club of the Philippines.
Galias shared: “Media has become a very strong force in society right now. So, we’re happy that through the MAM awards we are able to locate and find out about the advocacies of media outside the Philippines – to really share the good news of what’s happening outside and not only bad news about OFs. Let’s change the narrative of migration.”
The CFO selected 10 winners from among entries submitted from around the world, each telling stories that advocate for the rights of the overseas Filipino, across various media platforms.
Galias said she appreciates how the entries from around the world depict stories of empowerment. “I like how the various entries show how our overseas Filipinos are able to contribute and help their fellowmen wherever they are. And then there are people like Atty. Gurfinkel, who may not be Filipino by blood, but are willing to help Filipinos through their own advocacies.”
Atty. Gurfinkel happily expressed, “this is such a wonderful job I have because what I do brings families together and helps the people achieve their American dream.”
On his trip to the Philippines to receive the award, Atty. Gurfinkel also passed by DZMM, ABS-CBN Corporation’s 24-hour Filipino language news/talk radio station broadcasting out of Quezon City. Atty. Gurfinkel joined hosts Mare Yao and Atty. Noel del Prado on Usapang de Campanilla, DZMM’s program that provides free on-air consultation to listeners who phone in their legal problems. DZMM staff was pleased with the turnout of calls that day.
Citizen Pinoy airs nationwide in the U.S. and Canada on TFC on Sundays at 6:15 P.M. (PST) with replays the following Sundays at 2:00 A.M. (PST). The program also airs in Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East.