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Philippines: Humanitarian reporting contest highlights impact of conflict on children

27-08-2013 News Release 13/142

Manila (ICRC) – At an award ceremony held today, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Philippine Red Cross announced the winners of the 2013 Red Cross Award for Humanitarian Reporting.

Twenty-five finalists competed in this competition for media professionals in the Philippines, which aims to promote responsible reporting on conflict situations by highlighting the plight of the people affected.

"The winning stories and images illustrated the heavy toll conflicts take on civilians – with some of the entries in the competition looking through the eyes of children, who are all the more vulnerable. All the finalists proved that reporting on conflict need not be sensationalized or focused only on the conflict as such or on peace negotiations," said Pascal Mauchle, head of the ICRC delegation in the Philippines. "The images and stories of everyday people whose lives have been disrupted often say so much more. These stories are about respect for human life and the dignity of people not taking part in the conflict, such as civilians and wounded or sick people."

Mr Mauchle presented the trophies and prizes to the winners alongside Gwendolyn Pang, secretary-general of the Philippine Red Cross, and representatives from partner organizations International News Safety Institute, The Peace and Conflict Journalism Network, Photojournalists' Center of the Philippines, and Rotary Club of Manila.

A total of 19 judges from the partner organizations evaluated the entries on the basis of evidence of research (which counted for 30 per cent of the final score), sourcing (20 per cent), coherence and organization (20 per cent), style and presentation (15 per cent) and conflict-sensitive reporting (15 per cent). Three entries on the plight of children affected by armed conflict took the top prizes.

"Batang Halau," a one-hour documentary on undocumented Filipinos living in Sabah, produced by Eleazar del Rosario for GMA News and Public Affairs' Reel Time, took first place in the nationwide media competition's video category. The documentary tells the story of "stateless" children who were born in Sabah to Filipino parents. Halau means "forced to leave" or "expelled" in Malay.

"Strides into the future" by Stella Estremera, editor-in-chief of Sunstar Davao, the top entry in the print category, told the story of Norjaida, who when she was three months old lost her leg in an ambush in Northern Mindanao. Today Norjaida has regained her long-awaited independence and dignity after receiving a prosthetic limb and going through physical rehabilitation at the Davao Jubilee Foundation, a physical rehabilitation centre supported by the ICRC.

"Child in red blanket" by Inquirer correspondent Jeoffrey Maitem took the top spot in the photography category with his images of a father carrying his child wrapped in a red blanket as they and other families were fleeing hostilities between government troops and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Central Mindanao last year.

The top winners for the other categories also hailed from Mindanao. For online, the winning entry was "The Tampakan project: Battle over Southeast Asia's largest copper-gold reserve" by Bong Sarmiento of Mindanews, and for radio, it was "Tudok Firiz: Meketefu" by Malu Manar of DXND-North Cotabato.

The second place for photography went to Ruby Thursday More of Mindanews for his work titled "Bakwit," and third in the same category came "Clash on Good Friday" by Erwin Mascariñas of Mindanews. For print, "Women take lead in bringing peace" by Julie Alipala of Inquirer took second place and "'Bangsamoro' stirs feelings of Christians, Muslims" by Celerina del Mundo of Daily Manila Shimbun took third. For radio, "Mga bakwit: TNT sa Maguindanao," also by Manar, came second, followed by "Mga residente sa Maco: na-trauma sa giyera" by Ruel Dagsangan of DxDN Radyo Ukay. For video, "Bakwit," by Karen Davila and Karen Namora of ABS-CBN took second-place honours, while "Killings unabated under Aquino" by Ronalyn Olea of Bulatlat.com came third.

Aside from the awards ceremony, a forum was held on conflict reporting in the Philippines. Guest speaker Jesus Dureza, chairman and president of the Philippine Press Institute and former press secretary and presidential adviser for Mindanao, talked about the "Pains and gains of conflict reporting," while Rommel Banlaoi, chairman and executive director of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, discussed "Media reporting on the maritime territorial disputes: national and regional security implications."

For further information, please contact:
Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 908 868 6884