National Geographic to highlight Filipino photojournalists covering Duterte’s drug war

August 29, 2019 - 3:04 PM
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Activists wear hoods depicting families of victims killed in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war as Duterte delivers his State of the Nation address in Quezon city, Metro Manila
Activists wear hoods depicting families of victims killed in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war as Duterte delivers his State of the Nation address in Quezon city, Metro Manila, in Philippines July 23, 2018. (Reuters/Erik De Castro)
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National Geographic will feature photographers covering the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war in a new documentary film “The Nightcrawlers” to be released later this year.

This would be at least the second time killings in the Philippines became the subject of National Geographic’s program.

The prestigious channel first delved into the anti-narcotics campaign, which killed thousands of Filipinos from the urban poor, in an episode of its series “National Geographic Explorer” in 2017.

The official trailer was released last August 21 and it will premiere in October.

“With unprecedented access, The Nightcrawlers follows a small group of determined photojournalists on a mission to expose the true cost of the deadly war on drugs waged by Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte,” the caption said.

The Nightcrawlers (2019) Official Trailer | Nat Geo Doc Films

With unprecedented access, THE NIGHTCRAWLERS follows a small group of determined photojournalists on a mission to expose the true cost of the deadly war on drugs waged by Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte. Premieres this fall.

Posted by National Geographic Documentary Films on Tuesday, August 20, 2019

 

Veteran photojournalist Raffy Lerma, who closely follows and documents the drug war, was featured in the trailer.

“The Nightcrawlers are a group of journalists trying to tell a story. It is a collective effort,” Lerma said in the video.

It will be directed by first-time director Alexander Mora and produced by acclaimed producer Joanna Natasegara.

It will be premiered alongside another short film “Lost and Found,” from award-winning director Orlando von Einsiedel.

According to Indiewire, Mora said he sought to show an “unflinching exposé of Filipino President Duterte’s war on drugs, in which some claim over 20,000 people have been killed.”

Both shorts will open for a week at the Metrograph, a movie theater in New York City, before they air in October and then followed by the digital release.

Lerma worked for the Philippine Daily Inquirer for 12 years. He was previously one of the resource persons in the documentaries “When a President Says, ‘I’ll Kill You’” by the New York Times and “Manila’s Brutal Nightshift” by the BBC News.

Moreover, he was also interviewed for a special report of Huffington Post titled “Tenacious Photographers Expose Philippine President’s Brutal Drug War to the World.”

Last July, the United Nations launched a comprehensive review on the violent anti-narcotics campaign through a resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council.

Human rights groups estimated the death toll to be between 12,000 and 20,000 since the police operations “Oplan Tokhang” led by neophyte Senator Ronald dela Rosa when he was the chief of the Philippine National Police in 2016.