Remain Vigilant in Fighting for Genuine Democracy! Justice for the Victims of the Ampatuan Massacre!

November 30, 2009

Remain Vigilant in Fighting for Genuine Democracy! Justice for the Victims of the Ampatuan Massacre!

On this day, the birth of Andres Bonifacio who had lead a revolution that defended our country’s freedom, democracy and sovereignty, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) invokes the hero’s unwavering strength and conviction, as we strongly condemn the massacre of 57 people in Ampatuan, Maguindanao last November 23, 2009. With all our hearts, we grieve with the families and friends of the victims and especially of the slain journalists, 34 heroes who, until the end, upheld and defended our freedom of speech and expression. With all our anger, we hold the US puppet Arroyo regime responsible for the coddling of terrorist politicians and lambasting the democracy.

With the kind of fascism that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s regime upholds, political repression and state perpetrated violence had become policies for maintaining a moribund system that promote the most brutal acts of human rights violations. She had repeatedly disregarded our nations safety and sovereignty by kowtowing to US imperialist “war on terror” by augmenting to the already worse state of militarization in the country, through the Visiting Forces Agreement. Along with Oplan Bantay Laya 2, this regime continually wreaks fear amongst its people by harassing, abducting, and killing journalists, activists and other voices of dissent. The Philippines is now the most dangerous country for journalists, next to Iraq. The Ampatuan Massacre does not swerve from this regimes rule of violence. Clearly, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo didn’t only permit warlordism to thrive in the countryside – to be specific, almost a battalion-large private army which excludes the clan’s use of the AFP and PNP paramilitary units like Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGU) and Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) – she is also bent on protecting these warlords – her allies.

As freedom of speech and expression stands as the gauge of a genuine democracy, so too has the US-Arroyo administration claims as “defenders of freedom and democracy” and “anti-terrorists” stands as the gauge to their continuing repression and attack on democracy itself.

With the 2010 elections looming in the horizon, violence is certainly to escalate. Its grim face is already branded on the gates of democracy. But we must face it militancy and a commitment to changing our society for the better. Those who would sacrifice their freedom for their safety will find they inherit neither. Let not the lives of those who have sacrificed their safety for our freedom be in vain.

The Concerned Artists of the Philippines calls on all artists, journalists and all the people to join in our continuing struggle for genuine democracy.

END IMPUNITY! JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE AMPATUAN MASSACRE!

STOP WARLORDISM! DISARM PRIVATE ARMIES!

STOP STATE REPRESSION AND POLITICAL KILLINGS!

OUST GMA!

FIGHT FOR GENUINE DEMOCRACY!

-Concerned Artists of the Philippines
November 30, 2009


CAP protest statement on CCP event to honor Imelda

September 11, 2009

Concerned Artists of the Philippines

Protest the Arroyo regime’s lavish cultural tribute

to Imelda Marcos!

The Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) joins concerned Filipinos in protesting tonight’s lavish cultural event organized by the Arroyo government through the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) to praise Imelda Marcos’ so-called patronage of the arts.

We find mounting tonight’s event needless, profligate and immoral, considering specially that public funds were used. There are far more appropriate and meaningful ways for the CCP to commemorate its 40th year, and the current CCP Board should not have taken leave of their better senses in going ahead with this event.

The Filipino people have nothing to thank Imelda, even for establishing the CCP. It is precisely when the institution transcends its origins as an extravagant, elitist and insensitive undertaking of a tyrannical regime that the CCP has its finest moments. Only an equally corrupt, fascist and puppet power clique like the Arroyo power circle can ever be obliged to pay tribute to a paragon of corruption, repression and moribund politics that Imelda is.

Tonight’s CCP tribute to Imelda is another bleak manifestation of the festering crisis in Philippine culture and the arts. It highlights once again that the dominance of fascist, feudal and colonial culture remains in our society, to the benefit of the utterly corrupt and intolerably oppressive like Imelda Marcos and the Arroyo regime, and to the detriment of justice, freedom, democracy and dignity for our people.

We remind our colleagues in this cultural institution that, as responsible Filipino artists and cultural professionals, we ought not to be party to indulging our people to forget the grievous sins of dictatorship. How can we move on as a people if we deny ourselves learning from the very fundamental lessons history has verily taught us, lessons paid in dear blood by Inang Bayan’s modern martyrs and finest sons & daughters? Going blind over the Marcos tyranny’s monumental corruption, fascism and puppetry does not foster an arts and culture worthy of the Filipino. We urge our colleagues in the field of arts and culture to stand their ground and not to vacillate and be coopted on the matter of moribund politics.

The CAP itself has been one of the leading cause-oriented organizations that overthrew the yoke of despotism in 1986. Our joining this picket tonight is our proud way of saying “When we say ‘Never Again’, we mean it!”. ##

 

Concerned Artists of the Philippines

Tutulan ang bulok na pagpugay ng rehimeng Arroyo

kay Imelda Marcos!

Kasama ang Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) sa mga kapwa nagmamalasakit na Pilipino sa pagtutol sa magarbong seremonyas ngayong gabi na isinagawa ng rehimeng Arroyo sa pamamagitan ng Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas (Cultural Center of the Philippines o CCP) para magpugay kay Imelda Marcos bilang padrino ng sining.

Nakikita naming di-kinakailangan, maaksaya at imoral ang seremonyas ngayong gabi, lalunat ginamitan ito ng pera ng bayan. Napakaraming higit pang nararapat at makabuluhang paraan para gunitain ng CCP ang ika-40 anibersaryo nito, at disinsana’y pinairal ng mga pinuno ng CCP ang kanilang mas mabuting pag-iisip kaysa ipinagpatuloy ang seremonyas na ito.

Walang dapat pasalamatan ang bayang Pilipino kay Imelda, kahit pa ang pagtatayo nito ng CCP. Mismong sa mga pagkakataong nilalaktawan ng CCP ang pinagmulan nito bilang isang magastos, elitista at insensitibong proyekto ng isang tiranong rehimen naganap ang pinakamahuhusay na bahagi ng kasaysayan nito. Tanging kahalintulad na korap, pasista at papet na naghaharing pangkatin gaya ng kutsabahang Arroyo ang naoobligang magpugay kay Imelda na halimbawa ng korupsyon, paniniil at bulok na pulitika.

Ang pagpugay ngayon kay Imelda ay isa na namang kalunus-lunos na manipestasyon ng nagnanaknak na krisis sa sining at kulturang Pilipino. Pinatutunay muli ang paghahari ng kulturang pasista, pyudal at kolonyal sa ating lipunan, sa kapakinabangan ng mga ubod-korap at sakdal-mapang-api gaya nina Imelda Marcos at ang rehimeng Arroyo, at sa kapahamakan ng katarungan, kalayaan, demokrasya at dangal para sa sambayanan.

Aming pinaaalalahanan ang mga kasamahan namin sa ahensyang pangkultura na ito: bilang mga responsableng alagad ng sining at propesyonal sa kultura, disinsana’y hindi tayo nagiging bahagi sa pagpapalimot sa mabibigat na sala ng diktadura. Paanong susulong ang sambayanan kung tatalikuran natin ang itinurong napakabatayang mga aral ng kasaysayan, mga aral na pinagbayaran sa dugo ng mga makabagong martir at pinakamahuhusay na anak ng ating Inang Bayan? Hindi pagtataguyod ng sining at kulturang karapat-dapat sa Pilipino ang magbulag-bulagan sa grabeng korupsyon, pasismo at pagkapapet ng tiranong Marcos. Hinihimok namin ang mga kaalagad sa sining at kultura na manindigan at huwag  magpabuway at magpalamon sa bulok na pulitika.

Ang CAP ay isa mismo sa mga nangunang demokratikong organisasyon na nagpatalsik sa tiranya noong 1986. Ang pagsama namin sa piket ngayong gabi ay marangal na paraan namin ng paghayag ng “Kapag sinabi naming ‘Hinding-hindi na!’ (‘Never Again!’), totohanan ito!”. ##


Ka Amado: Isang Gabi Ng Tula At Awit Ng Tunay Na Artista Ng Bayan

September 11, 2009

Ang tula ay hindi pulos na pangarap at salimisim. Di pawing halimuyak, silahis, aliwiw, taginting at alingayngay… Ang tula ay walang hindi magagawang paksain.
– Amado V. Hernandez, 1961

Makisalo sa isang gabi ng paggunita,
sa himig at salita,
ng buhay at akda ng isang tunay na manlilikha…

Inaanyayahan ka ng Concerned Artists of the Philippines sa

Ka Amado:
Isang Gabi Ng Tula At Awit Ng Tunay Na Artista Ng Bayan

ngayong Sabado (12 Setyembre 2009)
6:00 n.g.
sa TAuMBAYAN (40T Gener cor. K1st Kamuning, Q. C.)


August 26, 2009
Round One

Round One

Sa paglabas ng Korte Suprema ng TRO na naghihinto sa Malacañang na igawad ang mga inanunsyong Pambansang Alagad ng Sining ngayong taon,

 

inaanyayahan kayo ng

Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP)

para pagsaluhan ang panimulang tagumpay

sa isang munting salu-salo:

 

ROUND ONE: WINNER BY TRO

Tuloy ang laban para sa makabuluhang sining at kultura

 

Petsa: Biyernes, Agosto 28, 2009

Oras: 6:00 ng gabi hanggang 9:00 ng gabi

Saan: ’70s Bistro, 46 Anonas Street, Project 2, Quezon City, Metro Manila

 

Magkita-kita tayo!

Artista ng bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban!

 

______

 

Call for Entries:

Round One Photo-Statement Exhibit

 

The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the awarding of this year’s National Artist Awards. As we celebrate this first-phase victory, we keep our stance to the next fight, expanding our call to bring to surface other perennial issues that we, artists of the people, are facing. It is time for a larger, stronger, louder outcry.

 

As we continue this battle to protect, defend and uplift arts and culture in the country, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) call on our fellow artists to participate in a photo-statement exhibit to further show our unity and solidarity. This exhibit will be a collection of photo-statements from various artists and supporters. Photo-statements are photographs of written short statements/slogan and the author of the statement. This exhibit aims to form a collective voice of artists and cultural workers through an ensemble of opinions, complaints and calls to action from various subjectivities and positionalities.

 

All artists, enthusiasts, scholars, art students and cultural workers are encouraged to submit their photo-statements. We are targeting as many entries as possible. You may opt to send group and individual photo-statements.

 

The exhibit will be displayed in various venues and virtual spaces. The first of the series will be on August 28, Friday, at ‘70s Bistro in time for the solidarity event/cultural night with the title Round One, Winner By TRO: Tuloy Ang Laban Para Sa Makabuluhang Sining at Kultura. Event poster attached.

 

Mechanics:

  1. Let your voice be heard through a short statement (may be a call to action, complaints/comments against violation of artists’ rights, or direct statements to the intrusive, abusive “leader”). Write your statement on any paper, board, or panel.
  2. Have a photo of you taken with your written statement in hand or on the foreground.
  3. Send your photo-statement to concerned_artists_phil@yahoo.com on or before August 28, 12nn. Include your name, byline (e.g. painter, writer, performing artist, etc.), affiliations (school, company, organization), contact details (email and mobile).

Department of Art Studies’ Statement on NAA

August 26, 2009

 

Rethinking the National Artist Award

We, faculty, students and staff of the University of the Philippines Department of Art Studies in Diliman are one with the community of concerned artists and cultural workers in deploring the process by which this year’s National Artists were named and in calling for a review of the law and rules governing the Award.

The National Artist Award was created in 1972 through Proclamation No. 1001, at the height of Martial Law and Imelda Marcos’ reign as First Lady and patroness of the arts, and recast as the Order of National Artists, akin to a “knighthood,” by the present administration in 2003. Recent events show that this law bestows almost unlimited power to a President, who acting as patron awarding spoils and gifts for services rendered to favored people, can brazenly abuse this prerogative.

The National Artist Award was symbolically buried on August 7, 2009 by an aggrieved community most affected by the blatant abuse of power by a morally bereft, dishonest, and unethical administration, who superseded the judgment of those who took part in the exercise in good faith and with the hope that the process – no matter how fraught and flawed – could produce a truly worthy roster of National Artists.

 The question is: if the Award has been tainted and degraded probably beyond recuperation, can and must we revive it at all? If we do revive it, what form will it take? What is a National Artist, anyway? What does it take to make a National Artist? How is a National Artist produced?  Who has the power to select and confer the Award? On what and whose authority and according to what criteria?  What and whose interests does the National Artist Award ultimately serve?

These and other questions aim to subject to relentless scrutiny, not just process, rules and law but our foundational assumptions on the terms “national,” “artist” and “award” and their intersections. And it is in light of these questions that we – constituents of an institution that educates future professionals in the fields of art history, art criticism, art theory and aesthetics – are calling for the rethinking of the very concept of awarding symbolic recognition and monetary reward to a very few, and our part or even collusion as scholars and cultural workers in this skewed system of awards. Fully committed to integrity, reflexivity and auto-critique, let us:

Review the law, review the rules!

Rethink the National Artist Award!


AN OPEN LETTER ON THE ISSUE OF THE NEW NATIONAL ARTISTS 2009

August 13, 2009

by Ricardo M. De Ungria, NCCA Commissioner for the Arts

 

Simply put: As long as the power to make the final decision on the choice of supreme exemplars of the arts—in the persons of National Artists—does not lie in the arts community through their own members chosen for such task, but in a President who can exercise it as executive privilege—as it is now—, then the arts community will not always get the heroes of their art that they deserve, and they will always be burdened with the choice of according or withdrawing recognition and respect to those merely imposed on them by presidential prerogative. The Presidential Proclamation on the National Artist simply must be changed.

On a personal note: I was witness to the selection process from beginning to end, observing and studying it, and eventually submitting a list of recommendations to both the NCCA and CCP Boards that should help iron out kinks and improve it. Like everybody else, I was hoping against hope that the integrity of the process will be preserved and that good sense and discretion will prevail in the one who will confirm the recommendation and make the final decision. But it was not to be. When the announcement of new National Artists was made, I knew that my worst fears had come to pass. I was surprised, angry, disappointed, and hurting. I was party to a carefully guarded process that proved eventually futile because scorned and trashed. I felt like a fool, a willing cow led to the slaughter. What made it more bitter was the knowledge that I had it coming. The truth was that good intentions to keep things above board and under control were not enough—someone else who had the power (or someone close to the one who had the power) was in control and had seen it fit to flout the rules mindlessly, disdainfully, and unconscionably. This situation speaks ill of the mode of valuation of artistic achievements in this country.

If most of us feel outraged and disgusted by this show of might, it is because we trusted too much—to fate and to the powers that be—and thought that a modicum of morality was still possible or recoverable in the small corner of the arts. We were proven wrong, dead wrong, again, like many times before. We have never learned our lessons well, it seems, because we have not addressed the root of the problem, which is the deleterious and obnoxious Presidential Proclamation itself that gives the president ownership of and power over the award. There was not much outcry about this same situation the last few times it happened when the President added names to the official list submitted by the two Boards. And so now we were slammed with a caboodle of National Artists, four of whom—the biggest number ever to befall us—were presidential choices. Once again, we are suddenly burdened with four personalities who we did not choose but who shall anyway be conferred the most coveted and prestigious title in our field simply because it was not in our power to prevent their proclamation. Once again, the notorious tribe of National Artists who are only presidential choices has increased. What to do with this ilk in our midst and their unenviable kind of victimage worse than death? For whether they deserve the title or not, the scorn and rejection coming to them from the artistic community simply for being backdoor men will be rightfully earned. In the end, nobody wins—the rightful ones get to stand with the less rightful (and probably more righteous) ones, the arts community becomes divided, and the integrity of the award becomes all the more doubtful and tarnished.

Unless we work in the next three years to have the offending Presidential Proclamation amended to give the power of final choice to the boards of the CCP and the NCCA, and unless we enjoy (outside of our ordinary lives) going through this knot of frustration and anger and disgust and helplessness every three years over this recurring issue of presidential prerogative and national artists, we might as well stand clear of the selection process and let the President decide his or her own national artist of a kind.


Of Truth, Honor and Delicadeza or How to Bake Your Cake and Eat It, Too

August 13, 2009

By Elmar Beltran Ingles,NCCA Commissioner for Cultural Dissemination

 

“The leak did it. Whoever leaked the results of the deliberations is a criminal.“

This was the observation of a government agency official who sits as ex-officio member of the NCCA Board. His statement was concurred to by another cultural agency ex-officio Board member who was attending the meeting for the first time.

The occasion was the July 31 regular meeting of the NCCA Board of Commissioners. The statements were made in response to the expression of anger and disappointment aired by Commissioner Ricardo De Ungria, of the Subcommission on the Arts, on the manner by which Malacanang decided, confirmed and announced the results of the 2009 National Artist Awards. Commissioner de Ungria was merely conveying the initial reactions of artists and cultural workers to the presidential proclamation.

As an elected sitting NCCA Commissioner and Board Member, I would have just let the remarks pass as the confidentiality of the results was really agreed upon by the joint panel of CCP and NCCA after the May 6 deliberations. I was not guilty of the insinuations because I never spoke about the results until my own Subcommission on Cultural Dissemination met in mid-June, way past the expected date of announcement on June 12. But the next statement from Department of Education Undersecretary and NCCA Chairman Vilma Labrador was something I could not let pass. She said that we should respect the President as she was within her legal bounds to do whatever she pleases with the Awards – or words to that effect.

While the Chair was extolling the virtues of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the wise words of a truly extra-ordinary woman leader – President Corazon Aquino, she of unquestionable integrity – kept bugging me. “We do everything not only according to the law but we do what is right and honest.” True enough, it was only during the Cory presidency when the awards process was truly respected without intervention from Malacanang,

To my mind, if GMA is really that virtuous, respectable and legal as her appointed minions want us to believe, why did the Hello Garci, Jocjoc Bolante, and NBN-ZTE scandals came about? Why should we be bothered by the breach of silence and confidentiality pact when the final result was the exact reversal of truth despite the leak? Nasaan ang lohika, katotohanan at hustisya sa pangangatuwirang mas mahalaga ang tiwala (trust) kaysa pagiging lantad (transparency)?

I felt I was being taken for a ride destined to bring me away from the truth and integrity of my sworn duties. And I was being led away by the very leaders entrusted – make that forced upon us – to protect the sanctity of the Filipino soul and creative expressions.

So I took the floor and minced no words. I related to everyone present how my mobile phone died twice on me because it could no longer manage the 516 angry text messages I received the day before the meeting. I questioned the need for the Malacanang Honors Committee which was said to have advised the President on this matter. I pressed to know who they are, what their qualifications are, and if they are, indeed, honorable. The last question was premised on the simple fact that they omitted the eminent musicologist and composer Dr. Ramon Santos from the list who, I said, I personally consider as the most qualified and brilliant in the list of final nominees and even after it was manipulated. I went on to state that we are not here to be compelled to respect GMA. That while most of us – particularly the presidential appointees to the Board – serve at the pleasure of the President, our loyalty and service should be dedicated to the Filipino people and the arts and culture sector, and that we should disabuse ourselves of the notion of political patronage.

I also personally appealed on record to the NCCA Executive Director, being concurrently the Presidential Adviser for Culture, to do her job of advising the president on the divisiveness of the presidential decision to alter the decision of the real experts in the arts and culture sector. I concluded that the president is NOT an expert on arts and culture and that she should stick to matters where she is supposed to excel i.e., the national economy etc.

I said all that with voice quivering and butterflies in my stomach – but in no uncertain terms. All I got from the Chair and her co-factotums from government were icy stares. I could almost hear their thoughts: “the nerve of this boy to lecture us on public service!” And, boy, that was exactly how she referred to me at NCCA!

But I stood my ground. I knew I hit sensitive nerves. I was daring them to contradict what I said but all I got were perfunctory words to the effect that the points raised will be considered part of the legislative agenda to review the policies on the National Artist Award. The Chair even assured the Executive Director of the Board’s support to her victory. “You deserve it.”

Case closed, at least as far as they were concerned. They got what they wanted. Never mind that ABS-CBN was waiting outside for the Chair’s statement – which was passed off as the NCCA official statement. They must be congratulating themselves on how the joke was on the rest of us. The NCCA Secretariat would later tell us how they were compelled to be present at a meeting a day before the Board Meeting to congratulate the Executive Director. Congratulatory tarpaulin banners were immediately posted at the NCCA building’s façade and lobby to express the greetings to Mrs. Alvarez “from your NCCA Family and Chairman Vilma Labrador.”

Commissioner de Ungria has wisely said that the arts sector should desist from participating in future selection processes until a clearer rules of engagement is set. He feels we are just being used to justify and legitimize the selection of the SNAGs, or the Singit National Artists ni Gloria. Bakit ka nga naman mag-aabalang igalang ang proseso kung mas mamamayani ang mga letters of appeals mula raw sa mga ambassadors at iba pang functionaries na nag-endorse kay Cecile Guidote Alvarez at sa tatlo pang SNAGs? Mas pinaniniwalaan pala ng Pangulo ang mga nasa posisyong di naman mga alagad ng sining – at mas ignorante pa keysa sa kanya sa larangan ng sining – kabilang ang mga matrona, pulitiko at iba pang kwestyonable ang kaalaman sa sining. At ang masaklap, ito pa ang ipagtatanggol na desisyon ng pamunuan ng NCCA kaysa mahigit na isang taong proseso ng pagpili na nilahukan ng ;pinagsama-samang henyo ng mahigit isang daang alagad ng sining at manggagawang pangkultura sa buong bansa.

I am blogging on this incident not to humiliate certain personalities. (I believe they can do a better job at it.) I am prompted by my sworn duty as an NCCA Committee Member and elected Commissioner to uphold the sector’s interest and protect the honor and integrity of Filipino artists and cultural workers who were primarily responsible for institutionalizing the concept of people power in the bureaucracy. As the sweetest flower of the 1986 EDSA Revolution, the NCCA must be protected from the withering effect of forces not true to our interests and ideals.