PRRD through the lens of Davao photojournalists

The job of a photojournalist is not easy as there is the necessity to be always close to the action. But what makes it more interesting and challenging is if your subject is former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Photographing the former President when he was still mayor of Davao City was exciting and eventful for Davao-based photojournalists Lean Daval Jr, Keith Bacongco, Bing Gonzales, Ace Morandante, Arjoy Ceniza, and the late Tatay Rene Lumawag.

They could take a snap of Digong in the conference, meeting with officials (foreign and local), in the middle of a flooded street, fire, freeing a hostage, having a tete-a-tete with rebel leaders, eating in his favorite carinderia and more. without difficulty because ‘Digong’ is really approachable and always accessible to media. He even clowns around with them.

It went a 350-degree turn when he became President of the Republic of the Philippines, it was a bit difficult for these photojournalists to take a photo of him. They can no longer get any closer to him and they have to bump heads with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) just to get a good angle of Digong.

They move high, move low, and keep on clicking until they likely have taken strong images.

To display their memorable images of the colorful character that is Digong, Davao’s ‘pitik boys’ put on a photo exhibit , dubbed “DIGONG- a photographic journey of the 16th President of the Philippines” held at the Abreeza Mall.

The recent exhibit showcased the former president’s journey from being a mayor of Davao City to being the 16th President of the Philippines through the lens of these photojournalists.

The photos were sifted through all the images submitted and selected to be showcased.

Behind each photo on display in the exhibit are different hardships that each photojournalist went through such as long-distance hiking, working late at night, getting physical and verbal altercations with the PSG, etc.

But they ignored all of that just to tell news stories through images and to bring those stories to the people. These photojournalists have to capture reality.

Daval, who is the photojournalist for Edge Davao, chose one of his photos of Digong showing his shoe without socks as he cracked a joke before the crowd in one of his public appearances in Davao City in 2018.

“The photo shows the real character/persona of FPRRD. Simple, honest, and transparent,” he said.

What makes the photo special is among the photojournalists present during that moment, he was the only one who was able to capture it.

“When photographing the former president, you need to react fast to capture moments like that because he pulls actions like that anytime so anticipate and react really fast,” Daval said.

Gonzales picked his photo where Digong gathered the street children at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) as among his favorites.

“Iya lang gina pakita iyang compassion diha sa mga tao regardless kung unsa man status, tanan tagdon niya. Like kana na photo, mura ug post Christmas treat na niya sa mga bata early January. Mga bata na na-deprive mag enjoy labi na sa pasko. After the talk naghatag sya ug food pack and P100 cash each of them,” he shared.

“Congrats to our photojournalists who made the project possible. Thank you for doing the project with us,” said Ruby Ochoa, marketing manager of Abreeza Mall.

Ochoa said the exhibit was one of the mall’s ways of welcoming Digong back to Davao City.

Dabawenyos be informed as well as entertained this Kadayawan month with the photo exhibit, which will run from August 1 to 31, 2022 at the ground level (in front of Mr. DIY).

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