HomeGood BalitaFilipino Photojournalist's West Philippine Sea Series Nominated for World Press Photo Story...

Filipino Photojournalist’s West Philippine Sea Series Nominated for World Press Photo Story of the Year

Michael Varcas’ series of photos on the West Philippine Sea nabbed the regional victory and is vying for the World Press Photo Story of the Year. Photos from WPP.

Michael Varcas’ West Philippine Sea (WPS) photo series has emerged as a regional winner, competing for the prestigious 2024 World Press Photo (WPP) Story of the Year. The series depicts the Philippines’ ongoing struggle for maritime sovereignty in the contested region.

Varcas’ work stands out among 24 regional winners announced last April 3, chosen based on the locations of the depicted scenes rather than the photographers’ nationalities.

An independent jury selected the Filipino journalist and photographer’s work from 61,062 entries worldwide, by 3,851 photographers from 130 countries.

Four global winners, including the World Press Photo of the Year, will be announced on April 18 as part of the 67th annual World Press Photo Contest.

Battle for Sovereignty Images

Varcas’ award-winning photos capture the tensions surrounding Scarborough Shoal, illustrating the multifaceted dispute over the West Philippine Sea in a September 2023 report in the Philippine Star.

From Chinese Coast Guard patrols to Filipino fishermen navigating the waters, the series encapsulates the complexities of the territorial conflict.

The WPP jury praised Varcas’ dedication to documenting the sovereignty battle, noting the photographer’s perseverance in accessing restricted areas. The images highlight Chinese aggression and also draw attention to broader issues of global significance.

The WPP jury explained their choice of Michael Varcas’ work: “This project visualizes the continuous pursuit of defending sovereignty and rights to natural resources that are currently contained in Southeast Asia but rapidly spilling into other regions and looming on the global horizon.”

“The photographer’s commitment to the story is evident in their ability to overcome the significant barriers faced by regional journalists to access these scenes from non-military vessels. Furthermore, the strong composition of the images portrays the ongoing Chinese aggression in the disputed islands which draw links to other acts of globalism ongoing globally,” the jury commented.

West Philippine Sea Dispute

Varcas’ report narrates how the West Philippine Sea dispute involves multiple nations, including China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei, each asserting competing claims over the South China Sea. China’s expansive “nine-dash line” claim has raised concerns about the region’s stability and its implications on global trade and security.

Despite a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration favoring the Philippines’ claims under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Chinese occupation of Scarborough Shoal persists. The Philippines continues to assert its rights, providing support to local fishermen in defiance of Chinese maritime forces.

READ MORE on the West Philippine Sea here

As a regional winner, Varcas receives recognition and prizes from WPP, including a cash award, inclusion in exhibitions, publication in the yearbook, and promotion on WPP platforms. Global winners stand to gain additional monetary rewards and prestigious photography equipment.

The announcement of the global winners, eagerly anticipated by the photography community, is set for April 18 at 11:00 AM CEST (Amsterdam time).

Be part of our vibrant Good News Pilipinas community, celebrating the best of the Philippines and our global Filipino heroes. As winners of the Gold Anvil Award and the Lasallian Scholarum Award, we invite you to engage with us and share your inspiring stories. For stories Making Every Filipino Proud, reach out to GoodNewsPilipinas.com via FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokYouTube, and LinkedInLinkTree here. Let’s spread good news together!

Facebook Comments
Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.

Get Your Dose of Good Vibes!

Power Up Your Positivity! Catch all the Good-Vibes! Join the GoodNewsPilipinas.com VIP list and get your daily dose of sunshine and Pinoy Pride! Unwrap stories that put Filipino awesomeness in your life! CLICK the subscribe button for our e-newsletter and turn your inbox into a fiesta of feel-good news! Inspire your day, fuel your pride! 🇵🇭✨

- Advertisment -

Top Stories