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UMPIL awards writers in national congress

The Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL, or The Writers Union of the Philippines) celebrated National Literature Month on April 29.
The theme of the congress, “Ang Panitikan sa Panahon ng Tokhang (Literature During the Bloody War on Drugs),” featured a keynote lecture by Dr. Jose “Butch” Dalisay Jr., a professor of creative writing at the University of the Philippines-Diliman and multi-awarded author of books of fiction and essay.
The congress’ highlight was the conferment of three major awards given by UMPIL since 1988.
This year’s recipients of the Gawad Alagad ni Francisco Balagtas’ lifetime achievement award for literary writing are Romulo Baquiran (Poetry in Filipino), Luis Gatmaitan (Children’s Fiction in Filipino), Marne Kilates (Poetry in English), Liza Magtoto (Play in Filipino), Jameson Ong 王勇 (Poetry in Chinese), Carla Pacis (Children’s Story in English), Vicente Rafael (Criticism in English), Criselda Yabes (Essay and Fiction in English), and Melchor Yburan (Poetry in Cebuano).
The Gawad Paz Marquez Benitez, an award for achievement in literary education, was given to Alicia Magos, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of the Philippines Visayas in Iloilo and the editor-translator of the Panay Bukidnon.
Thousand Islands (千島詩社), an organization of Chinese-Filipino writers, received the Gawad Pedro Bucaneg, an award for outstanding literary organizations.
The congress is supported by the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center and the Department of Literature of the College of Li-beral Arts of De La Salle University-Manila, the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.