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Oct 19th
Home Sections Education & Technology Daughter and Widow of Slain Journalist Gets US Visas to Be Able to Attend Chicago Journalists’ Award Ceremony
Daughter and Widow of Slain Journalist Gets US Visas to Be Able to Attend Chicago Journalists’ Award Ceremony PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 30 September 2010 07:38



(Journal Group Link International)

C HICAGO (jGLi) – Julia Mae Reblando, daughter of slain journalist Alejandro “Bong” M. Reblando, and her mother, Myrna P. Reblando, were issued U.S. visas Wednesday (Sept. 29, Manila time), paving he way for their departure Thursday (Sept. 30), according to Carmen “Menchu” Aquino Sarmiento, executive director of Philippine Airlines Foundation based in Pasay City in the Philippines.

Philippine Airlines will be providing the complimentary round-trip tickets to the
US for the Reblandos.

Julia Mae, 14, will be receiving a $1,000 scholarship award from the Chicago Journalists Association. She will be the first resident outside
Chicago, Illinois, to receive the award.

CJA President Allen Rafalson asked the help of the Chicago-based National Press Club of the
Philippines in the United States (NPC Phil.-U.S.A.) to establish contacts with the surviving families of the slain journalists to choose from among the children to apply for the journalism scholarship award. Only Julia Mae stepped up to the plate to apply.

Although the Julia Mae’s application came at the last minute, various agencies, including the Department of Foreign Affair’s spokesman Ed Malaya, the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Office and
PAL, were accommodating in issuing an expedited passport, expedited U.S. visas and the plane tickets.

Julia Mae, a junior high school student of Holy Trinity College in General Santos City, will receive the award of the scholarship during the CJA's 71st annual dinner at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza on October 1.

Mr. Rafalson and the CJA board chose a non-American to receive the scholarship award for the first time this year. Rafalson said, “She (Julia Mae) has a burning desire to be a journalist this early."

For her part, Julia Mae said, “I choose journalism not just because I want to follow my father’s footsteps but also because I want to show the people how much I really care of everybody most especially my fellow countrymen, the Filipinos.”

Her father, Bong Reblando, was a staff member of the Manila Bulletin in the
Philippines. He was one of the 30 journalists slain while covering an election event in what would become known as "Maguindanao Massacre," the biggest mass murder of journalists the world has ever known.

Las Vegas, Nevada, the mother-and-daughter will be met and hosted by Mr. Renato Avenido, owner of website. Mr. Avenido met and became fast friend of Bong Reblando when Bong went to Las Vegas in 2005. “I will also give Julia Mae and her mother surprise gifts,” Mr. Avenido said.

The Maguindanao Massacre, also known as the "Ampatuan Massacre" after the town where the mass graves were found, occurred on
November 23, 2009.

The victims were on their way to file the certificate for candidacy of Esmael Mangudadatu, who was running for governor against the scion of a well-known political clan in the May 2010 elections.

Mangudadatu, then vice-mayor of Buluan town, was challenging Andal Ampatuan Jr., mayor of Datu Unsay town and son of then Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr.

The 57 people killed included Mangudadatu's wife, his two sisters, journalists, lawyers, aides, and motorists who were witnesses or were mistakenly identified as part of the convoy.

Expression of Solidarity

C JA Charitable Fund President Karen Petitte said, “For the first time in our history, we have extended this annual scholarship to a non-American to dramatize our organization’s sympathy and solidarity with journalists and their families who were victims of this shocking event."

Julia Mae will be accompanied by her mother, Myrna P. Reblando, in her trip to

She will join two Asian-American journalists, TV reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who will receive the Daniel Pearl Awards.

The two were arrested in March 2009 along the North Korea-Chinese border while investigating the trafficking of North Korean women.

Both were sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp but released in August of the same year after a visit to
Pyongyang by former US President Bill Clinton.

Best of the Best

T welve Chicago-area journalists are to receive Sarah Brown Boyden awards for their work in different categories. One of them will be recipient of the $1,000 "Best of Best" award. Three other distinguished journalists will also be honored. They are:
Chicago Reader columnist Ben Joravsky (Chicago Journalist of the Year) and former City News Bureau chief Paul Zimbrakos (Lifetime Achievement). # # #


Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at:  (



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