February 18, 2010

PGMA Groundreaks Valenzuela City Housing Project for Ondoy Victims

After Tropical Storm Ondoy left their families in Tullahan River homeless last year, these children will soon find a better and safer place to live in once the Valenzuela's Disiplina Village is put up for around 900 families.

Amidst swirling cloud of dust and late morning sun, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came over Valenzuela City on February 12 to groundbreak Disiplina Village in Bgy. Ugong, a housing project for 900 families whose homes were swept by the raging waters of Tullahan River at the height of last year's Tropical Storm Ondoy.

An initial 100 families are temporarily sheltered there on makeshift houses to participate in the construction phase that exemplifies the spirit of 'bayanihan."

Being in the profession, it's my third instance to cover an event where the Chief Executive is the leading figure of interest. The first two assignments were held in a rather confined environments (a BPO facility in Alabang and in MalacaƱang) but this is the first time to document her engagement outdoors.

With my white polo being embraced by the dusty wind, an old-timer who lives near the area told me the vicinity used to be a quarry site for adobe during the Marcos administration. Even though the landscape is barren (which reminds me of Barrio Cupang straight from Ishamael Bernal's "Himala"), if seen with eyes wide open, the promise of a better life for the recipients is hard to miss.

For full report: http://www.valenzuela.gov.ph/press.php?id=200900615&tbl=press

February 17, 2010

Citizen documentarists in Iran poll protest awarded journalism prize

You've seen her looking at the camera as she bled to death at the height of protest rallies after the allegedly rigged presidential elections of June 2009 in Iran.

Authorities tried to clamp down access to information and news coverage. But vigilant -and nameless- citizen journalists proved to wield more power than censorship.

And they are commended for their work and giving the world a heads up. This visual evidence of a dying protester, Neda Agha-Soltan, was awarded a George Polk Journalism Award in New York.

New York Times' John Darnton, the curator of The 2009 Polk Awards said the recognition underscores the "increasing importance of user contributions to journalism in an era where cameras are commonplace."

"This award celebrates the fact that, in today's world, a brave bystander with a cell phone camera can use video-sharing and social networking sites to deliver news."

From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2010/feb/16/george-polk-awards

Combo image taken from: www.nytimes.com

To know more about Neda Agha-Soltan: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/world/middleeast/23neda.html?_r=1