The Philippines remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels for its power and energy needs. Fossil fuels also happen to be the main drivers of the climate crisis. Although the country contributes only 0.3 percent of carbon emissions globally, the reliance on coal and fossil gas continues to generate negative and increasingly serious impacts on the daily lives of Filipinos in terms of harm to the economy and human health. Continuous burning of fossil fuels results in air pollution, where long-term exposure can increase the risk of developing illnesses such as asthma, lung cancer, and stroke, as well as comorbidities to COVID-19.

A power sector regime of planned and unforced shutdowns of new and old coal-fired power plants – with some of the newer power stations remaining offline for eight months and counting – has led to persistent blackouts and spiking power costs. The suffering of countless Filipino households and businesses still coping with the brutal effects of the pandemic has been made more tenuous and fragile because of the outages and astronomical electricity bills.

Yet the other side of this narrative coin might be just as, if not even more compelling.

Inherent in the energy transition are stories of positive disruption that have so far gone unreported. While there are reports on solar farms and the solarization of shopping malls, there are fewer stories on the workers, cooperatives, and financers involved in other renewable energy sources, batteries, and storage plants. Other stories that could be further explored include efforts of households to become energy efficient; challenges faced by communities and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in shifting to renewable energy options, and how integral sectors, such as farmers and fisherfolk, can benefit from and take part in the country’s path to climate resilience and transition to low-carbon development.

With all these interesting angles and approaches to storytelling, the Jaime Espina Klima Correspondents Fellowship is a timely opportunity for journalists to reframe approaches to prevailing climate and energy narratives. As the nation chooses new leaders in May, journalists and newsrooms play a central role in defining the most pressing elements in the country’s development agenda.


The Fellowship is in honor of the late Jose Jaime “Nonoy” Espina, a veteran reporter and press freedom campaigner. His reportage on energy, environmental, and climate change issues in his home province of Negros Occidental helped paved the way towards what is increasingly dominating public discourse today: climate change and the energy transition.

The Fellowship is open to journalists, correspondents, and freelancers, with preference to those reporting in and from the provinces, and working in any medium (print, online, television, radio). We also accept applications from journalists whose works are published in international news outfits, but we highly encourage applicants to engage and secure local or national publication interest in publishing the report/s they will produce under the Fellowship.

Fellows need not be reporters covering climate and energy issues. We strongly encourage journalists assigned to different beats and assignments, such as politics, metro, culture, business, tourism, and lifestyle, among others, to join the Fellowship and learn how climate and energy stories can be developed based on current coverage.

Interested applicants must form a team, consisting of at least one reporter, one photographer, and one editor, but recognizing as well that, like Nonoy Espina, some writers are photographers and/or editors as well. Each team should have a maximum of three members.

Fellowship organizers reserve the right to decline applications if the applicants are found to have engaged in unethical professional conduct.


The Fellowship will select at least 7 teams of Fellows, while striving to maintain balanced representation across the different regions and island groups. Each team will receive a grant of up to P70,000 (roughly US $1,340), based on the budget proposal they will submit as part of their application.

Fellows will be selected by an esteemed panel composed of veteran journalists, editors, and communication experts. Upon selection, fellows will participate in a short course on climate and energy reporting and media safety that will run for roughly 5 weeks. Participation in the course, which will have both synchronous and asynchronous sessions, is mandatory prior to the receipt of the first tranche of the story grant.

Fellows are expected to begin story production around July. All stories should be published by November, at the latest. All fellows will receive guidance and mentorship during their story production as part of the Fellowship.

Fellows are advised to prioritize their health and safety, as well as those of the communities they will interact with, during story production. Applicants are encouraged to include COVID-related costs, such as tests and personal protective equipment, in their budget proposal.

Stories can be published in any language. However, an English translation is required for those publishing in their local languages. ICSC will also seek the Fellows’ consent for rights to publish and distribute their stories on select social sites and with our national and international partners.


  1. Compose your team.
    Applications must be sent as a team through Jotform. Teams may be composed of either:

    • Option 1: One reporter, one photographer or videographer, and one editor
    • Option 2: One multimedia reporter, one editor
  1. Prepare the application requirements.
    • A 500-word story proposal on any of the following story themes related to the country’s energy transition. Applicants can consider themes such as, but not limited to, the following:
      • Efforts to accelerate the energy transition towards affordable, sustainable, reliable, and efficient energy systems, by any of the following: local government units, academic institutions; electric cooperatives, micro, small, and medium enterprises; and household or community initiatives.
      • Renewable energy strategies and systems powering humanitarian responses and community build-back-better strategies and low carbon resilience programs.
      • Small- to large-scale initiatives demonstrating collaborations among government, civil society, and the private sector to promote renewable energy.
      • Efforts to promote new thinking and analysis in low carbon development-driven economics or scientific explorations, covering different areas other than the power sector, such as tourism, agriculture, health, education, and cities.

Specify the format of your story. It can take the form of traditional written narratives accompanied by images, for print and online publication; multimedia; animation; a short documentary; or a podcast series.*

Include an outline of your story production, including research, fieldwork, writing, and editing. Publication should be in November, at the latest.

    • Proposed budget, including COVID-related expenses
    • Letter of intent addressed to the ICSC Executive Director, signed by all members of the applying team
    • Statement of support from the publication, signed by an editor or newsroom manager who is not part of the applying team
    • Sample works (at least two) of the journalist, photojournalist and/or multimedia reporter (stories on climate and energy are preferred, but not required)
  1. Accomplish the application form and submit documents HERE.

May 31, 2022 (Tuesday), 5 PM

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