Duterte’s Collateral Damage: The Living Left Behind

Copyright © 2017 by James Whitlow Delano

Why should people care about an 84-year-old grandmother left to raise 7 grandchildren after their father was executed by masked gunmen sent to the slums to kill him in his own living room?

Remy Fernandez, 84 years old, holds her grandchildren that she is raising, there are seven in all, because her son, Constantino de Juan, a methamphetamine user, was killed by masked men and the mother is in prison due to a drug arrest. The chair in which she sits has a hole in it after it passed through his body. Baby RJ was born in prison. Constantino, upon seeing the masked assassins, instructed CJ, five years old and wearing the red tank top, to take care of his siblings because he knew he was about to be assassinated. Payatas, Metro Manila, Philippines

Why should we tell the story of a 15-year-old widow & mother to an infant, after masked assassins dragged her teenaged husband by the hair, outside onto a rotten-wood porch of their tin-roof hut raised on posts above a fetid swamp choked in plastic and raw sewage, then shot him four times in the head, dying in her arms as she cried, “Pa, not yet…Not yet, please…We have a baby”?

We tell their story because we're human, because by not knowing their story and not exposing these worst of crimes, we would become complicit in the crime - we'd be sanctioning these crimes with our silence.

Jasmin Dorana, a 15-year-old widow, holds her baby, Hazel, born just a month before her partner, John "Toto" Dela Cruz was pulled by his hair out onto this porch and shot four times in the head and in the chest.  Bagung Bayan, C4, Navotas, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Portrait of Lucia Abletes, mother of Junnar Abletes, 27, who was gunned down in Duterte's "War on Drugs" when he returned for a family visit from the island of Samar. Lucia did not believe it was safe for him to be in Market 3 slum, even though he had stopped using drugs. Her worries were confirmed. Junmar leaves behind a young son that she will now raise. Market 3 slum, Navotas, Metro Manila, Philippines

I can't effectively tell this story without a partner. I hope you will agree with me and help shatter the silence upon which the perpetrators depend to reign with terror in the Philippines.

Roda, 29 years old, and the 7 children for whom she is responsible, after her husband, Crisanto, a garbage picker at the massive dump site nearby, was killed in an extrajudicial killing as part of Duterte’s "War on Drug".  Roda cannot work because she has an ulcerous infection on her thigh and she also needs to look after the children.  Some of the older children are sent out to sell fried banana and other food on the street to bring in a little cash.  Payatas, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Sister of Christopher Roque, 40, a fisherman who was executed in a police drug operation in Navotas, turns away from the police and the bright lights of media who have decended on the crime scene attempting to interview stunned family members.  Roque was executed along with Tony Santos.  Both had bullet wounds in the forearms, trying to block bullets that penetrated above their hearts, and in the back of the head.  Navotas, Metro Manila.  Philippines

Ginnalyn Soriano, 21 encounters the body of her elder brother, Julius, 24 years old, whose corpse is being carried away in a body bag after he was executed.  His body showed signs that his hands had been bound before he was shot to death during a police operation in Caloocan, Metro Manila. Philippines  

Lenie Banting, 51, holds her 14-year-old daughter Jocelyn Banting’s (L) 8-month old child, Angel, because she has chosen to live in a bar where she works as a sex worker in the Market 3 port.  Her partner, Alan Uba, AKA, Boy Muslim, was killed in President Duterte's "War on Drugs".  Jocelyn met her partner after a client impregnated her.   Smoky Mountain, Tondo, Manila, Philippines.

Link to series:  https://jameswhitlowdelano.photoshelter.com/index/G0000AndqaE60QeM/I0000Lw0tlm3XrYQCopyright © 2017 by James Whitlow Delano. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher.