Losing a mother to the drug war

PhotographerEzra Acayan
PrizeSilver in Editorial / Political
City/CountryParanaque, Philippines
Entry Description

Screaming cries and music from the funeral hearse drown the air as relatives mourn the death of Leah Espiritu, who was killed on June 3, 2017 by unknown assailants who fled on a motorbike. Her husband, now left with six children to look after, admits that Leah was a drug runner. A year on, the killings continue under the government's war on drugs and many face a grim and bloody future.

About Photographer

Ezra Acayan is a documentary and editorial photographer based in Manila whose work primarily focuses on social issues and human rights. Currently, he is working on a documentary reportage on the suffering and abuse experienced by communities under the Philippine government's war on drugs. In 2017, together with a team of Reuters journalists, was awarded a special merit at the Human Rights Press Awards for multimedia reporting on the drug war. This work—along with work by other journalists who cover the drug war—was also exhibited in Geneva during the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines at the United Nations Human Rights Council, and in Sarajevo during the WARM Festival. He has done multimedia work for various outfits such as Reuters, European Pressphoto Agency, Agence France-Presse, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, French Society magazine, Rappler, and Rogue. He has also done work for NGOs such as Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, Care International, and the French Red Cross. His work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Vice, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Le Monde, Stern, Paris Match, and more.