By ALYSSA MAE CLARIN
MANILA – To help promote and improve human rights reporting in the Philippines, online alternative news outfit Bulatlat and its publisher Alipato Media Center awarded story grants to three community journalists.
The story grants are part of Bulatlat’s project, “Advancing human rights reporting in the Philippines as a tool for upholding gender fairness, democracy and accountability” in partnership with the German Embassy Manila.
Selected as fellows were Gene Albert Coles of UP Vista, student publication of the University of the Philippines Tacloban campus; Reynard Magtoto of Baretang Bikolnon; and, Andie Laurio of Southern Tagalog Exposure.
This project is supported by German Embassy Manila. pic.twitter.com/biy4ulZczN
— Bulatlat (@bulatlat) October 20, 2023
The three fellows were among the participants in Bulatlat’s training human rights reporting held last September.
Coles is the current editor-in-chief of UP Vista. His story for the fellowship will focus on how the urban poor in Tacloban North Pabahay sites are deprived of basic social services a decade after super-typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) hit the province.
His story plans to shed light on these precarious conditions, and assess the capacity of the City government to intervene and address the issue and concerns of the residents who have become victims of the supposed ‘recovery and rehabilitation plan.’
Meanwhile, Magtoto will be working on an in-depth story on how the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) operatives use dirty tactics for counterinsurgency in different areas in the Bicol region.
Aside from covering human rights stories, Magtoto is also the current regional coordinator and correspondent of Alternative People’s Media Network (AlterMidya), editor of Baretang Bikolnon and a member of the board of directors of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).
Laurio, on the other hand, has proposed to do a story on the effects of Executive Order 70, and the “whole-of-nation” approach on human rights defenders and civilians in Batangas. The story will delve deep into the underlying socio-economic roots of rights violations in the province.
As an writer and editor at Southern Tagalog Exposure (ST eXposure), an independent multimedia collective formed in 2001, Laurio prioritizes working on issues that are rarely covered by the dominant media.
Aside from the three, a micro-grant was also awarded to BusinessWorld researcher Mariedel Irish Catilogo for her story pitch on the role of lawfare in curtailing the indigenous people’s human rights; particularly on the families who had witnessed the Tumandok massacre in Iloilo.