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Philippine Documentary on Education wins 2012 Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award

© GMA Network Inc.
Anthony dives to collect sea cucumbers (photo from the video).

Seoul, 16 October 2012 – “I-Witness: Piggy Bank”, a groundbreaking documentary by producer Kara David of GMA Network of the Philippines, a national TV station, has won the 2012 Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award for broadcasting.

Filmed in a far flung village in the Philippines, the 50-minute long film tells the story of 12-year old Anthony, who works hard every day and night to fulfill his dream of getting an education. From catching fish and washing cars to scouring for sea cucumbers at night, he saves every penny he earns in his piggy bank with the goal to be able to go to school.

In the Philippines, there are over 3 million children who are not in school because of poverty, the demand for child labour, poor health and nutrition and low preparedness for school. Of every 1,000 entrants in Grade One, only seven graduate from Grade Six with sufficient mastery of English, mathematics, and science.

“Poverty, child labour and lack of education are common problems in the Philippines,” said Kara David, the presenter. “Through research, we found out that in Eastern Samar, several minors have little choice but to help their parents earn income --- day and night. When Anthony dives and scours the seabed all night to search for a sea cucumber used in Chinese traditional medicine, every breath he holds when diving for sea cucumbers is worth another penny, which would bring him closer to his dream.”

Kara David is a successful documentary producer and internationally recognized child rights advocate. She is a second-time winner of the Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award. Her documentary entitled “Angels in Prison," examining the plight of young children born and living with their mothers in prisons in the Philippines, won the Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award in 2003.

David is the founder of "Project Malasakit" (Project Compassion) scholarship programme which aims at providing children who do not have the opportunity to go to school with an education.

For Anthony, life has taken a good turn with the filming of the documentary. He was awarded a scholarship by the foundation of the film’s producer, Kara David, and no longer needs to engage in child labour, but can now focus on his education. But for many other children, the situation remains dire.

© GMA Network Inc.
This is the recent picture of Anthony. After the “piggy bank” documentary, many were touched by Anthony’s story.  With the help of our viewers, Anthony is now in his 2nd year in high school. He no longer dives for sea cucumbers.

“All girls and boys must have the opportunity to go to school, regardless of their family’s income, geographic location or ethnicity,” states Dr. Festo Kavishe, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific. “Children who attend school not only go on to lead healthier and more productive lives, they also contribute to the development of their communities and strongly advance their countries’ social and economic development. Education is a key opportunity that should be given to every child.”

Dr Javad Mottaghi, Secretary General of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union added that “Piggy Bank was a worthy winner and a fine example of the quality of documentary making in the Asia-Pacific region. The story of a small boy battling to make a better life against enormous odds is told with obvious compassion and fearless honesty.”

“CASBAA congratulates GMA Network of the Philippines for their winning entry” said Simon Twiston Davies, CASBAA CEO. “Our Association is proud to support the Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award and to provide a platform for filmmakers giving voice to the plight of children across the region.”

The Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award, created by CASBAA, ABU and UNICEF in 2001, is given annually to the best television programme produced in the Asia-Pacific region with a focus on children’s rights.
The Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award will be presented on 16 October in Seoul during the ABU General Assembly. This year, the Award received received over 40 entries from 13 countries across the region.

For more information about the Award, this year’s finalists and a Q&A with the winner, please visit:

For further information, please contact:

Hanizah Hamzah, ABU (Kuala Lumpur), + 603 22822480,

Adela Chen, CASBAA (Hong Kong), +852 3929 1711, 

Kritsada Jirathun, UNICEF (Bangkok), +66 2 356 92 49,






Related links

Trailer of I-Witness: Piggy Bank


Official website: Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award


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