RealNews

Filipino war reporters work on the edge

War reporting here is not the prestige beat it is in the United States. War is relegated to the cub reporter, the stripling photographer, even the freelancer. The nation’s war reporters are therefore young, brash and gutsy. Charlie Saceda, a 24-year-old staff photographer with the Philippine Star, one of the country’s largest newspapers, has logged experiences in seven years that would give pause to the most grizzled U.S. war correspondents. He accompanied elite Philippine army troops when, acting on a tip, they mounted a failed ambush of the Abu Sayyaf militants who had kidnapped American missionaries Gracia and Martin Burnham. Later, Gracia Burnham was rescued — and Martin killed — during a government operation. Saceda himself knows what it’s like to be held hostage. When the Abu Sayyaf militant group kidnapped 60 elementary school students and their teachers on Basilan in 1999, he accompanied a negotiation team led by popular Filipino movie actor Robin Padilla. Full Story

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