Philippines human rights defenders are celebrating the news that journalist Maria Ressa has been awarded the Nobel peace prize.
Ressa last week became the first Filipino journalist to be awarded the prestigious prize, which she shared with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov.
The award focuses on the struggle of journalists and activists fighting President Rodrigo Duterte’s opposition to press freedom and human rights, amid his brutal drug war that has left thousands dead.
For the past five years, Ressa and her news website Rappler did not waver in reporting on alleged abuses and corruption in the Duterte administration despite measures by him to silence her.
The award was announced on Oct. 8 as Ressa and Rappler were busy reporting on the last day of registration for candidates in next year’s national and local elections.
Six top politicians were among nearly 100 people who have registered to run to succeed Duterte in the May 2022 elections, but the final list will only be out later in the year.
Duterte critic Senator Leila De Lima, who has been detained since 2017 over drug charges that have drawn accusations of being politically motivated, said the timing of the prize award was perfect.
“This is truly a triumph of truth over lies, and the award has not come at a more opportune time than during our struggle to regain our lost freedoms under Duterte,” said De Lima, who is running for re-election while in detention.