by Maya M. Padillo
GMA News and Public Affair’s newest and fifth host of award-winning documentary program I-Witness Atom Araullo expressed his interest to make a documentary on the history of Davao City.
“On the top of my head yun lang nag naisip ko na interesting. Interesting for me though hindi ko alam kung paano i-execute sa isang documentary yung history ng Davao bilang isang hub na itiunutring for many na parang one of the centers of Mindanao and it wasn’t always this way (On the top of my head that is the nly one I could think interesting although I do not know how to execute the history of Davao in a documentary as a hub considered by many as one of the centers of Mindanao and it wasn’t always this way),” Araullo told media in a press conference after his together with I-Witness co-host Sandra Aguinaldo “Docuforum” held in Cinema 2 of Gaisano Mall of Davao, Friday.
Araullo admitted that it would be difficult to make a historical documentary of Davao as he will need a lot of archival footages and good case studies to make the story.
He said it would be important for a story to evolve from one person and it needs research.
But Araullo is confident to easily find that person or persons who were part of the Davao’s history.
He said Manila has history back in colonial times while he does not have exact information what happened then.
Araullo said a majority of Davao issues have been documented not only in I-witness and featured on national TV already may it about education or development of a school. But, he said if the host would find a new person involved in the story then it becomes a new story.
Araullo’s first episode in I-Witness will feature the Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh in search of safety. Their journey took days without food, clean water, and rest. They hid in jungles, crossed mountains and rivers with what they could salvage from their homes. Refugee camps are now overcrowded with families spilling into makeshift sites on the side of the road.
Araullo’s episode is part of the theme of I-Witness documentary anniversary “Going Beyond Borders, Breaking Barriers”.
Aguinaldo said when the team chooses a topic it’s a group effort. She said she has her own topics that she wants to make.
She admitted her topic would not always pass the hosts during their brainstorming. Even she is being discouraged to do the topic; she does not delete it and pitches it again at the right time.
For Davao, Aguinaldo wanted to make a documentary that is not being featured on national TV.
She also considered her visit the Pegalongan Elementary School to meet Randy Halasan, a teacher and a Ramon Magsaysay awardee for Emergent Leadership and serving the indigenous Matigsalug tribe in one of the remotest villages in the mountainous hinterland of Davao City as one of the most challenging documentaries.
She said she went there and hiked six hours, unlike the lumad guides who walked faster. Since the guides carried their water, Aguinaldo said they were dehydrated and suffered heatstroke.
After it was aired and got good reviews from their viewers, Aguinaldo said the team received calls from viewers who wanted to help that community. She said the team received offers to give books and a hanging bridge.