Editor's Note: On the morning of April 4, 1995, more than 200 heavily-armed men wearing fatigue uniforms attacked with military precision the thriving town of Ipil in Zamboanga del Sur in a bloody rampage that left 44 people dead, mostly civilians including the town's chief of police. More than half a billion pesos were looted from the town's eight commercial banks.

   Victoria Calaguian (left) was the first photojournalist to visit Ipil after the bloody attack that fateful day. She was a staffmember of TODAY, a daily newspaper based in Manila, on assignment in Zamboanga City the day of the attack. Very early the next day, she talked her way into hitching a ride in a military helicopter carrying ranking military officials on their way to check the damage in Ipil. Below are some of the pictures she took the day after the attack.
     Victoria now works as a staff photographer of Gulf News---one of the largest newspaper in the Middle East---based in the United Arab Emirates. 
     Below is a short note we received from Victoria---at the time of the incident she was a mother of Vicoy, a three-year-old boy---and this was what she had to say about her feelings about her coverage of the killings, burning and looting of Ipil:

  "Here are images of the children I caught with my camera while covering the carnage in Ipil and the military pursuit operations across Zamboanga.
     They [the children's images] haunt me knowing that they are trapped in the midst of a conflict and all I could do was shoot their pictures. But I was hoping that if I can have their innocent faces printed on the newspaper for all to see, we will realize how they suffer and give end to it.
     Now, I'm still waiting for that realization. And until I see them suffering, I'll keep shooting. I wish everyone will know that there is no better teacher [about the horrors of war] than the look in the eyes of these children."

May 5, 1995

To read Victoria's article about the raid click here 

Death & Destruction in Ipil

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