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From over 200 entries submitted by members of the automotive print, online and broadcast media, three from the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s motoring section topped their categories during the 20th Henry Ford Awards held virtually on March 25.
Inquirer Motoring was awarded best automotive section for broadsheet –its second in a row. Veteran motoring reporter Tessa R. Salazar’s story “Anger Management in 2 Hybrids” was judged best automotive print lifestyle feature, while Inquirer Mobility digital lead Ardie Lopez’s “I’ll Hold the Line” song composition was among the five “Go Further Changemaker” awardees.
It was the fourth win for the Motoring section under editor Jong Arcano, and the 8th HFA award for Salazar, an HFA Hall of Famer who has also won seven other journalism awards from various competitions in the science and technology beats.

The HFA is the only motoring journalism competition held annually in the Philippines. The online awarding ceremony held March 25 was attended by over 130 journalists, dealer partners, and Ford executives.
Among the invited speakers at the event were veteran broadcast journalists Rico Hizon, Roby Alampay, and 11-time HFA judge Dr. Severino Sarmenta, Lecturer, Department of Communication, Ateneo de Manila University.
This year, the HFA awarded winners from 16 categories. Winners were selected by a panel of judges from the academe, corporate, and creative industries.
The selection process involved two phases. The first phase evaluated entries for overall composition, style, and substance. Judges here were Drs Maria Margarita Alvina-Acosta (Dean, Department of Communication, Miriam College), Arminda Santiago (Professor & Dean, College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines-Diliman), Sarmenta, and Cheryll Soriano (Professor, Department of Communication, De La Salle University-Manila).
In the second phase, judges looked at the entry’s resonance, relevance and overall impact to the audience. Joshua Aquino (Country Lead for Communications, Microsoft Philippines), Owen Cammayo (Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs, Bank of the Philippine Islands), Ritzi Ronquillo (Chair, Awards Committee for the 2021 Gold Quill Awards, International Association of Business Communicators), and Mervin Wenke (Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Google Philippines) were tasked to choose those that stood out.
Special judges also evaluated photos, videos, design and layout, content publishing, and website management. The panel included Cecile Alcantara (President, Coca-Cola Foundation), Pat Dy (Photographer), Jason Magbanua (Videographer), Dino Ocampo (Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather) and Carlo Ople (Vice President and Head of Marketing Communications, PLDT Home).

The two special industry categories—which recognizes media outlets and editorial teams—include best automotive section for broadsheet and best automotive online publication, which was won by Top Gear Philippines for the second year in a row.
The Automotive Print Lifestyle Feature is part of the 11 regular industry categories. The “Go Further Changemaker” is a new award honoring journalists “who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help his or her fellow countrymen during the Covid-19 pandemic through acts of goodness, programs and initiatives that benefitted frontliners, patients, and the public at large.”
Two special categories have also been added this year—the Ford automotive feature and Ford automotive video feature, recognizing content that showcase Ford vehicles, reviews, launches, industry topics and developments as well as test drives
Winners’ circle
The rest of the winners for the 2021 HFA are: Monsi Serrano (PhilBiz News) for his column “Driving Our Agnes in the Time of Covid”; Ronald Delos Reyes (Daily Tribune) for the green feature “This Car Needs No Roads”; Randy Peregrino (BusinessMirror) for the industry feature “The Pragmatic SUV”; Vince Pornelos (AutoIndustriya) for the online feature “Benjamin Dimson: How a Filipino Artist Built a Career Designing Porsches and Mercs” and the video feature “Understanding the Mild Hybrid Geely Azkarra”;
Manny Delos Reyes (2nd Opinion) for the online lifestyle feature story “The ABCs of ABS, EBD, ESP, ETC”; Eric Tipan (Manila Bulletin) for his print feature “What Happens When Cheap Oil Meets A Pandemic”; Julian Panlilio (AutoPH) for his road safety feature “How to Properly and Safely Disinfect Your Car Interior”; Froilan Bacungan Jr (Vera Files) for his technology feature “Do Expiry Dates for Child Restraints Really Matter?”;
Vernon Sarne (Visor) for the Ford feature story “I Think My Father’s Ford Mustang Died With Him”, and Caco Tirona (AutoDeal) for the Ford video feature “Behind the Wheel: 2020 Ford F150 Review”.
Lopez was joined by fellow “Go Further Changemaker” awardees Anjo Perez, Mike Potenciano, James Deakin and Monch Henares.
“The 20th Henry Ford Awards has become more meaningful this year as we paid tribute to the great work of Filipino motoring journalists who continue to keep the industry alive and their readers informed amid the pandemic. This year’s winners truly raised the bar in delivering automotive news that is timely and relevant to the public,” said EJ Francisco, AVP for Communications, Ford Philippines.
In a statement, the HFA said that it “continues to recognize excellence and professionalism in Philippine automotive journalism, honoring the work of the country’s esteemed roster of motoring journalists.”

MAIN photo shows the Inquirer Motoring/Mobility team at last year’s physical awarding ceremony. This year’s awarding rites were held on-line.

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