Vicente Jaime Villafranca March 11, 2009Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Philippines.
Former gang member, Manila, Philippines
Vicente Jaime “Veejay” Villafranca (b. 1982 Philippines) was amongst seven Filipinos to be accepted in the first Asian documentary workshop of the Angkor photography festival in Siem Reap, Cambodia. After freelancing in 2006, he worked with Agence France Presse, Reuters, World Picture Network and the United Nations His long-term project about the life of former gang members in one of Manila’s dangerous slums, BASECO compound garnered the 2008 Ian Parry Scholarship grant in London. He is also the recipient of the 2007-2008 Asian Center for Journalism Photojournalism program in partnership with the World Press Photo Foundation. His work has been exhibited in London, Lithuania and Manila. Veejay is now working for Getty Global Assignment in London. His ongoing projects evolve around the Filipino faith, reserved space, and illegal refugees in Southeast Asia apart from his project with the gangs.
About the Photograph:
“This photograph is part of an going project about the lives of former gang members in Baseco compound, one of Manila’s largest slums. Rex, or more popularly know as 2PAC amongst the gang members had a complete turn around when the compound was ravaged by a huge fire in 2004. Most of the senior members left the compound in search of a life apart from the violence, crime, and drugs some opted to stay. For Rex (2PAC), the gang life expired when his twins were born. He now works in a mall as a janitor and he still spends time with former ‘brothers’ but hardly takes part in the activities or what was left of it. The Chinese Mafia Crew (CMC) was heralded the gang to look out for during their heydays but as the time changes, the members are trying to break the vicious cycle.