Education Resource

Meet the Journalist: James Whitlow Delano

James Whitlow Delano returned to the slums of Metro Manila, digging deeper to document the lives of women left behind after men in their lives—husbands or sons—fell victim to extrajudicial killings in President Duterte’s war on drugs. The killings continue, but the pace has slowed. 

Jocelyn Banting, now 15 years old, a widow and sex worker, was arrested for possessing 0.02 grams of methampethamine. She lied, saying she was 19, and is now in adult jail. Her mother Leni believed she would be released but the documents she had were rejected. Leni begins a bureaucratic journey into the legal system here while raising Jocelyn’s baby and her other daughter in a shack on the former Smoky Mountain dumpsite.

Jazmine Durana, now 16, has returned to live in her mother’s single-room house in the slums, sharing it with two brothers and a sister, while raising her toddler. She struggles to raise roughly $30 to start a drink-stand business. 

Remy Fernandez, an 85-year-old grandmother, continues to raise seven grandchildren after her son was killed. Her daughter-in-law, Lourdes, has just been released from prison, after serving a drug sentence. Lourdes disappeared for three days as Remy searched friends’ homes and the police station. She was about to go to the morgue when a grandniece implied that she knew her whereabouts. Remy fears her daughter-in-law may fall back into addiction, becoming a target for an extrajudicial killing—a common occurrence once someone is a known drug user or pusher.