PH drug war makes it to TIME Magazine's top 10 photos of 2016


Posted at Dec 27 2016 06:02 PM

MANILA – A photo of a child crying over the casket of her father, allegedly the victim of a drug-related killing, was among TIME Magazine’s top 10 photos of 2016, cementing the Philippines’ war on drugs as among the world’s most "striking and lasting" topics, for the public and media alike.

The image shot by New York Times photographer Daniel Berehulak captured the anguish on the face of Jimji, 6, as she cried out for her father during his funeral in October this year.

Berehulak was in the Philippines to photograph President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign. He went to the wake of supposed drug dealer Jimboy Bolasa, whose body was found under a bridge in Navotas City in September, along with the corpse of another man.

According to reports by two broadsheet newspapers, the police had yet to determine the identity of the killer, and his motive.

However, regardless of the police’s investigation, what mattered to Bolasa’s family was that he was gone—a grief that was demonstrated by his child, who Berehulak said “kept on screaming until she was overcome, fatigued” during his journey to the church for funeral rites.

Berehulak confessed to struggling to get through a sequence of similar photos that he took, because of the sense of loss he got from Bolasa’s family, as well as the helplessness of similar victims.

“It’s absolutely crippling to see that image and to see that little girl experiencing so much pain and loss; to know that her father was never given a trial, never had the opportunity to defend himself in front of a court,” Berehulak wrote.

There were 2,755 drug-related fatalities in the Philippines from May 10-December 20, according to data from the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group. These included those killed by unidentified assailants and police operations, as well as bodies found away from a crime scene.

Other photos that made it to TIME’s list were of Ieshia Evans’ arrest during a protest for the shooting of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police, a coup de etat in Turkey, citizens affected by government airstrikes in Syria, a photo of Air Force One arriving in Cuba, a rescue in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya, refugees at a camp in Greece, US president-elect Donald Trump delivering a speech while perched on a chair, "world’s fastest man" Usain Bolt at the Olympics, and a view of a snowstorm over the US East Coast from the International Space Station.