I Witness Them All!

I’ve been here.

I never missed this event since I entered college. Since I am a media baby, and must be exposed to these documentaries, video production, and investigative journalism, I need these programs and events to satisfy my thirst for information.

And I really learned a lot from this GMA I-Witness Docufest!

I had the chance to catch the last screening at Gateway, the very last, 5pm-7pm. Luckily, I got a ticket and have the privilege to watch. It was a long queue of media practitioners and students who are patiently waiting for the doors to be opened. And I was one of them.

The first video production was “Katay Kabayo” (Slaughtering of horses) of Ms. Sandra Aguinaldo. This video shows how people (can you call these “people”) un-animally treat the horses. This shows where fate brings the awful horses that are old, weak, injured or even the horses that lose in the race—in slaughterhouses. Sad to say, when this moment came to their life, no one comes in rescue—even their trainers, their owners, and even their jockeys who benefited from their triumph in the previous races. No one cares, but the butcher, who will end their sufferings. So unjust, not mentioning the fact how they are slaughtered! Eew!

And so go on the next video. It was a documentary of Ms. Kara David. I noticed that Ms. David always depicts mostly the situation of children. And this time, she focused on the killing parasite that wantonly destroying dreams and lives of people in a barangay located in Agusan del Sur. The traitor disease was called “schistosomiasis” which havens on snails. It can cause internal damages to the victim like chronic illnesses and affect the cognitive development of children. This disease can be acquired by just skin contact in infected water, (since the parasite can enter to the skin opening) due to improper sanitation—like of that in Agusan del Sur. It was an awful situation for those people because the cure seems to be insufficient. For a canister of praziquantel, a medicine that can cure schistosomiasis, which can only cure a hundred and fifty—of a barangay that consists of 3,000 infected people.

Calling the attention of the government! How many children and head of the families will die until you get off your seats and take actions?

Only one survives, and still surviving. It’s glad to know that there’s still a child that’s free from the plague. A family there is doing everything just to save their youngest, from the disease. Think, if this family can do everything, (on their own, effort, money, time) just to save the child from the said disease, then why don’t our government who had all the resources to save a dying barangay? Huh?! Much has been said.

And so the next video, now of Jay Taruc’s “Batang Langoy” depicts how children in Magalumbi, Ilo-Ilo strives hard just to go to school. I admire the determination of these children that despite of struggles of going to school (can you just think how they swim a number of kilometers just to go home from school if their parent’s weren’t able to service them? Determination!)

I found it amazing for them to do this. A group of elementary students, even though that they are always late at school, receive reprimands almost everyday by their teacher, they doesn’t mind. When they’re off at school, they usually wait for their fathers to service them with a boat to home. But if they feel that their parents aren’t able to come, they will start to bury their things under the sand to hide it and start to swim just to go home.

The next day, they will come early to school to get their things and answer their homework. I cried a tear because despite of their fate, they still find ways to fight it—through education, and that’s truly the key. I just hope these children achieve what they are working for and hope there are some who can help them reach their dreams.

How I wish my younger brothers have watched this video so that they will not take things for granted!

And the last but not the least, Howie Severino’s salute to Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabela, the woman governor. I found her as a strong woman because she turns her disability into an extraordinary ability. She has polio since she was three. But that is not a hindrance for her to perform her duties. In her term, she is the only one who started a campaign against the “bugador” (illegal loggers) in their city. What an inspiring act of courage! Cheers to the new icon of woman empowerment!

There’s a lot more for these documentarists to work for. There’s more to reveal. With the kind of government that we have, we have to implement tougher laws, we still need to search cure for the country’s disease, we still need stronger people to survive, and we still need dedicated officials that really care to achieve development on this rotten country. We are still miles away to nirvana, if we still have time to achieve that.

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