I-Witness: Kara David revisits former case studies in “Sa Mata ng Bata”

Since she started in 2002, award-winning broadcast journalist and I-Witness host Kara David has done numerous documentaries and closest to her heart are those that tackled issues on child labor. Kara told touching stories about children who chose to work at an early age, instead of going to school or playing.

Doing documentaries for I-Witness has made a big impact to Kara’s life. “Lagi kasing sinasabi ng mga tao na nababago ang buhay ng mga case study dahil sa ginagawa ng media sa kanila,” Kara said. “Pero ang hindi nare-realize ng mga tao is that nababago rin ang buhay namin because of them (case studies), because of their stories.”

Kara revealed that it was because of I-Witness that she decided to put up her foundation. “Dahil pinagkatiwalaan nila ako with their stories, nagkaroon ako ng mas malalim na malasakit sa bansang ito,” she says, adding, “I realize na doon sa kasuluk-sulukan ng Pilipinas kung saan wala masyadong access to electricity, walang access to basic services, grabe ang mga tao, buhay na buhay ang malasakit nila sa isa’t isa.”

As part of I-Witness’ 20th anniversary, Kara David went back to some of the stories she did years ago.

Kara first met Jonel when she made the documentary “Gintong Putik” seven years ago. Back then, he made a living by diving in a mud pit in the hopes of getting bits of gold. In her documentary “Pulo't Pukyutan” last 2014, Kara met brothers Charlie and Edrian who climbed trees to collect honey from beehives. While in her documentary “Sa Mata Ni Ekang” in 2007, Kara saw the world through the eyes of then three-year old Ekang, whose father was a robber, her mother a drug runner, and her grandmother a former sex worker turned pimp.

After many years, have they finally escaped the harsh world that took away their childhood? As I-Witness celebrates its 20th anniversary, Kara sets out on a journey to Cavite, Batangas, and Camarines Norte to once again meet Jonel, Charlie, Edrian, and Ekang.

“It’s [also] our way of celebrating their lives kasi hindi naman magtatagumpay at mamamayagpag ang I-Witness kung hindi papayag ang mga tao na magbahagi ng kanilang storya sa amin,” says Kara of this anniversary special. “We owe I-Witness to these people. Sila ang tunay na I-Witness. Sila ang tunay na lifeline ng programang ito kasi wala kaming mailalabas sa telebisyon kung wala sila.”

Kara also want the viewers to recognize the people behind the camera who made I-Witness to be what it is now—the country’s longest-running and award-winning documentary program.

“Hindi ko magagawa ang lahat ng ito if my whole team is not invested in this show. It’s totally a team effort. Kami (hosts) lang ang mukha, kami lang ang boses, kami lang ang nagsusulat ng voice over—pero hindi kami yung I-Witness. I-Witness is everybody. From the PA to the cameraman to the editors, directors, executive producers—everyone,” she ended.

“Sa Mata ng Bata” was aired yesterday, November 9. Watch out for more interesting documentaries from I-Witness on GMA-7 every Saturday after Studio 7.