Pinoy journalist gets Pulitzer for drug war reporting

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A Filipino was among three journalists of the Reuters news agency given the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody crackdown on drugs.

Manuel Mogato, Clare Baldwin and Andrew R.C. Marshall won the Pulitzer prize for international reporting “for relentless reporting that exposed the brutal killing campaign behind Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.”

The three were behind Reuters’ series of stories called “Duterte’s War,” which looked into the “bloody drug crackdown in the Philippines.”

Mogato, Reuters’ political and general news correspondent in Manila, is only the second Philippine-based journalist to win the Pulitzer, after Carlos P. Romulo in 1942.


Baldwin is the British news agency’s special correspondent, who has investigated the drug war since June 2016. Marshall, who also won in the same Pulitzer category in 2014, is Reuters’ Southeast Asia special correspondent.

The list of winners for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize was released on Monday (Tuesday in Manila). The Pulitzers, the most prestigious honors in American journalism, have been awarded since 1917.

“I am so happy to learn about the Pulitzer award this morning and all of us in Reuters are thrilled that, for the first time in history, Reuters has been awarded two Pulitzer prizes,” Mogato said in a statement.

“In a year in which many Pulitzers were rightly devoted to US domestic matters, we’re proud at Reuters to shine a light on global issues of profound concern and importance. This is actually a team effort to help ensure that our stories were accurate, unbiased and entirely compelling,” he added.

A veteran defense and police reporter, Mogato has worked for a number of publications, including the Manila Chronicle, The Manila Times and Asahi Shimbun.

Mogato was attacked by trolls online for his drug war stories, forcing him to shut down his Facebook account.

According to authorities, more than 4,000 suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations since the start of the bloody drug war in July 2016, shortly after President Duterte assumed office.

Local and international human rights groups claim Duterte in his public pronouncements virtually ordered or encouraged policemen to kill those involved in the drug trade. They said this resulted in more than 13,000 extrajudicial killings in the drug war.

Malacañang has said there were no state-sponsored killings and that it was committed to investigate officers who violate and abuse their authority.

The Palace on Tuesday lauded Mogato for winning the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Duterte’s war on drugs but maintained that the anti-narcotics campaign was legitimate.

“Definitely, I’d have to congratulate Manuel Mogato, but the fact remains that the policy of the President on the drug war is that the drug war is legitimate. It’s intended to protect the youth from the ill effects of drugs,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. told reporters in Boracay.

“The killings committed by state authorities, for as long as they are legal, will be defended by the state. But as in the case of Kian de los Santos, if the killings are contrary to law and unjustified, he [Duterte] will cause the criminal prosecution of the policemen themselves. So that’s the state of the drug war,” he added.

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) congratulated Mogato, who sits on the board of the organization.

“Despite some dangers inherent in today journalism work, Manny remained steadfast and dedicated in carrying out his job,” the FOCAP said in a statement.

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