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Marnel Arcones, 21, a former child worker, is seen outside his home in Cambayan village on Samar island in the Philippines | THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Astrid Zweynert

Marnel Arcones's face lights up with a huge smile when he talks about going back to school after years of toiling as a child worker in factories, on farms and as a domestic helper.


Nov 2013: Luzviminda Ilagan: 'We commemorate today for the first time in our country, November 25 as the National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women...'


November 2013: GABRIELA Alliance of Filipino Women expresses serious alarm - "We express sympathy and cry for justice with our fellow Filipino women in Tacloban City who were reported to have been raped in the aftermath of the typhoon..."


Nov 2013: GABRIELA Alliance of Filipino Women "We... cry for justice with our fellow Filipino women in Tacloban City who were reported to have been raped in the aftermath of the typhoon..."

Mothers and their children at the maternity ward of the Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, a government hospital in Manila, Philippines.

According to the UN, 3.4 million pregnancies occur in the Philippines every year. Half of those pregnancies are unintended while a third are aborted, often in clandestine, unsafe, and unsanitary procedures by nonprofessionals.

The reproductive health law marks the start of an era in which public policies can save lives, promote healthy family planning, and respect human rights.

Prima Jesusa Quinsayas

Prima Jesusa Quinsayas has been a private prosecutor in the most notorious cases of media killings in the Philippines, including for the witnesses and families of the journalists killed in the world's worst attack on the press in recent history: the 2009 Ampatuan massacre. Her life is in constant danger. Over the past few years, she's been followed by unmarked cars, has spotted vehicles lurking around her apartment, and received threatening text messages

Women share beds after giving birth at Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila. The Philippine capital is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. A ban on contraception at public clinics there has put birth control out of the reach of most of the city's poor. Photo: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

In the Philippines, access to contraceptives is limited for the most part to those with the means to pay. The Catholic Church has fought a "reproductive health bill" in the legislature that would change that.

Lucena Duman readies for her tour-guide role on Ang Pulo island. Photo: Marwaan Macan-Markar/IPS.

On a humid islet covered with mangroves, Lucena Duman and her neighbours have found a route out of poverty. They work as conservationists and tour guides in this isolated corner of the Philippines.

After feeding her goats, which were once her only source of income, the 46-year-old Duman dons a wide-brimmed sun hat, slips into a yellow guides T-shirt and heads out on her bamboo raft. She is going from her village of small-scale fishers and farmers to Ang Pulo island in the South China Sea.

Gabriella Womens Party

The two representatives of Gabriela Women’s Party accompanied a minor who alleged that she was raped by Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija vice mayor Romeo R. Borja as she filed a case at the Department of Justice.

The 18-year old “Jasmin” accused the official of repeatedly raping her since June 2011. She said Borja threatened to kill her and her family if she refused to give in to him. Jasmin is now eight months pregnant with Borja’s child.

Edita Burgos campaigns for missing son Jonas in 2010

Throughout the five years that she has been searching for her “disappeared” son, Edita Burgos says she has already scaled down her expectations, from calling for justice to just wanting to find out the truth about what happened to him.

Marites Dañguilan Vitug took an oath before a Manila prosecutor when she filed her rejoinder in a libel case that a Supreme Court justice had filed against her, related to the publication of her book, “Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court.” Photo by Purple Romero.

When a Philippine investigative journalist revealed the inner workings of her nation’s Supreme Court, the country’s largest book publisher and leading distributor walked away.