MAP: Negros killings since July 2016

Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Philippines

Organisation: Rappler

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 28/08/2019

Credit: Jodesz Gavilan

Project description:

The project is a map of killings that happened in Negros province in the Philippines from 2006 to 2019, seen as a killing field under President Rodrigo Duterte. The incidents involved mostly human rights defenders and local farmers, among others, at a time when a culture of impunity dominates the country.

The project aimed to see where the epicenters of killings are and to provide details of each victim, including how they were killed, their occupation, and affiliation. Including these key information enabled me to draw a big picture of the situation in Negros.

Impact reached:

The history of Negros Island has been marred by violence for so many years. The victims are reduced to statistics. The project wanted to put a face behind each number to humanize the unfortunate situation.

Techniques/technologies used:

The data was sourced via manual searching and tabulation of news reports and visualized using Datawrapper’s map tools.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The main challenge that I faced in doing my work is the collection of information. For this, I consulted with a local human rights organization which tracks killings and added other vital details, for each victim. To complement this information, I went through several news reports, using tools to extract key information such as date of killing and other identifiable information. ​

Since I saw how hard it was to retrieve these data, I decided to place all the information I had gathered into a searchable table within the published story so other groups can also access them. No other media outlet in the Philippines has done a mapping of the killings in Negros.

What can others learn from this project?

Killings are happening all over the country in the Philippines, but focusing on hyperlocal situations is highly important to put in context the situation. Mapping projects like what I did is useful in showing the magnitude of killings in Negros, which may not be all related to Duterte’s drug war but his other policy – the so-called anti-insurgency campaign which tagged many human rights activists as communists and enemies of the State. ​

Readily available data with extensive information when it comes to crime are vital and if these are severely lacking, other ways must be found. While going to each police station to get spot reports of each incident of killing was key, it would also eat up most of my resources (I am the only person on my team). So I made use of online archives of community and mainstream media and the individual news reports of each incident. 

At the end of my work, I decided to embed all information I gathered publicly in my storypage so other groups will have access to them for whatever purpose they see.

Project links: