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A glimpse of the struggle faced by photojournalists in the Philippines

(Warning: Some images are disturbing) Every day, these Filipino photojournalists walk into protests, disaster areas, and uncharted grounds to deliver powerful images to the public. Yet, most of them lack compensation for their jobs.

WARNING: Some images are disturbing

METRO MANILA, Philippines — Photojournalism in the Philippines involves struggle, now more than ever. Photojournalists face the physical danger on the field, the fight for press freedom, misinformation, restrictions, and lack of financial support. Despite all these perils, Filipino photojournalists continue to strive to do their job, delivering powerful images of true events.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranked the Philippines as the seventh most dangerous country for journalism on October 28, 2021. Every day, these Filipino photojournalists walk into protests, disaster areas, and uncharted grounds to deliver powerful images to the public. Yet, most of them lack compensation for their jobs.

It’s worse for freelance photojournalists who need to be versatile in order to survive and continue their work. They are either former staffed photographers or stringers who have been independent ever since. These photographers go to places to capture current events, human interest stories, and scenic views. To keep themselves afloat, these photojournalists also take side jobs, doing portraits, covering events, weddings, and commercial work. This means that at least half of them must to do more than photography.

Photojournalists in Philippines laid off by pandemic, striving to get back on track

When the pandemic started, media outlets in the country had to operate at 50 percent capacity. This laid off many photojournalists, especially slashing out freelancers who earn ₱300 or $6 U.S. per photo, which is the minimum. This forced many photojournalists to sell the equipment they owned, often leaving them with just a single camera set. To survive, some of them have had to find other sources of income such as food delivery.

Now that the government has relaxed pandemic restrictions, some of these photojournalists were able to get back to work. However, there are struggles along the way. These photojournalists continue to deliver, because there are the ones who love their work. They will continue in photojournalism as long as they can, and by any means.

All photographs by George Buid

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George Buid is an independent photographer and journalist based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His work has been published in Stern Crime, Transcontinental Times, InterAksyon, and Deutsche Welle news. He also contributes to the news wire Zuma Press. In addition to writing journalism, George is a self-taught photographer who started his photojournalism career and visual documentary storytelling in 2014. He focuses on capturing stories of everyday individuals, communities, and culture. Occassionally, he also covers science, history, sports, politics, art, and human interest.