Sining Bugkos, a cultural alliance of artists, musicians, and filmmakers lambasted National Task Force to End Local Communist and Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) following its program entitled “Artist for Nation Building: Standing Up for the Future – A Vision of Peace and Justice”.
Such a program is intending to consolidate artists, directors, filmmakers, and other cultural workers to primarily uphold counter-insurgency efforts against progressive individuals and organizations, which are no longer new in NTF-ELCAC’s brand.
Anti-Terror Law Project?
In a Facebook post last August 24, NTF-ELCAC and NICA has already blasted releases and invitation for art, entertainment, and culture industry involvement. It also included an invitation by the National Security Council (NSC) for an upcoming symposium set on September 7.
NSC is a collegial body supervised by the Marcos Jr. administration with its supporting members from cabinet, congress, and other government officials.
Sining Bugkos slammed Marcos Jr. which has only been promoting red scare antics akin to his ousted father Ferdinand Marcos Sr. who enacted the Martial Law in 1972. It was considered to be the gruesome era in Philippine history following exorbitant human rights violations, severe economic pains, foreign power control among others.
“Kung usapin ng utang ng pamilyang Marcos: dugo, kayamanan, at kasarinlan ang sadyang ninakaw at kinitil na dapat nilang pagbayaran,” it said in Sining Bugkos’ unity statement.
[As for the debt of the Marcos family: blood, wealth, and independence were deliberately stolen and extorted that they must pay]
The cultural alliance group stressed that the current administration will make use of its political powers to upheave manipulation and conditioning among the people through the use of mass media, arts and culture industry.
“Tiyak na ipagpapatuloy ng kasalukuyang rehimen ang pagmamanipula at pangongondisyon sa pagpapalaganap ng mga programa, palabas, at musika tulad ng kanyang ginawa para dayain ang naging resulta noong nagdaang halalan,” it said.
[The current regime will surely continue to manipulate and condition the dissemination of programs, shows, and music as it did to rig the election results this year]
It was reported that the ousted dictator’s son Marcos Jr. proclaimed the Philippine president with a casting of 31 million votes. The number was so high, even surpassing the 16 million votes got by his close ally and predecessor Rodrigo Duterte, that many critics suspected it of electoral fraud.
“Tunay na isang palabas ang nais ng administrasyong Marcos Jr. kung saan gagawin niyang bulag at tikom ang mamamayan,” Sining Bugkos affirmed.
[The Marcos Jr. administration really wants a show. where he will make the people blind and blind]
The group noted how the Marcos Jr. administration ultimately neglected to address current socio-economic situations including the ballooning rate of inflation, high prices in oil products, food, and other basic commodities.
They stressed that the administration would even surpass the grim records of his ousted father and his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte.
“Sa katunayan, walang preno ang paglobo ng implasyon na pumalo sa 6% nitong Hulyo 2022 bago tila walang kamuwang-muwang si Marcos Jr. sa malubhang kalagayan ng ekonomiya ng bansa,” they noted.
[In fact, there was no control on the ballooning inflation that hit 6% this July 2022 before Marcos Jr. seemed naïve in the serious state of the country’s economy]
“Wala rin sa prayoridad ang usaping karapatang pantao sa kanyang unang State of the Nation Address, bagkus ay iraratsada pa nito ang mga programa para sa ekonomiya tulad ng Masagana 150, right-sizing sa mga kawani ng pamahalaan, at para sa edukasyon tulad ng Mandatory ROTC,” they added.
Sining Bugkos also condemned the continuing suppression of academic freedom not only evident in the red-tagging among progressive student youth but also in the banning of progressive books and authors.
Last August 9, Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) hosted by former NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Badoy and other military personnel hit on several authors who have published books detailing the narratives during the Martial law era.
At least 17 books were ordered to halt publication and pull out from school libraries by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino due to the incident.
Rechannel P10B NTF-ELCAC budget, pass HB3505
The cultural alliance group berated NTF-ELCAC amid its whopping P10 billion budget for National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2023. Meanwhile, several government agencies particularly those in the promotion of education, culture, and arts would suffer from big budget cuts. These include the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), National Archives of the Philippines (NAP) and the National Library of the Philippines (NLP).
According to NEP, NCCA was only approved for P25.163 million, it was the biggest cut from the agency’s actual proposal of 156.283 million or an equivalent of 83.90% decrease.
“Sa halip na ipamayagpag ang distorsyon at walang habas na panreredtag, dapat na tunay na magsilbi ang P10 bilyong pondo para sa kapakanan ng mamamayan. Higit na nangangailangan ang sambayanan na naghihikahos sa krisis pangkalusugan at sosyo-ekonomikong tugon sa ayuda,” Sining Bugkos highlighted.
[Instead of promoting distortion and wanton red tagging, the P10 billion fund should really serve for the welfare of the people, with which the impoverished due to the health crisis and the socio-economic response are the ones in need of financial aid the most]
The group also urged to pass House Bill No 3505 o ang New Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2022.
According to the old version of the HRVRRA passed in 2013, it only recognized 11,103 victims of Martial law while there are more than 101,458 victims ranging from 70,000 imprisoned, 35,000 tortured, at 3,256 killed including 2,520 suffered from brutal and heinous execution.
The old version HRVRRA has provided P10 billion for reparation as retrieved from the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses thru Swiss bank accounts.
“Tulad ng kanyang ama, ang panibagong Marcos Jr. ay hindi kailanman magwawagi. Bagkus, walang alinlangan ang naglalagablab na diwa ng mga artista ng bayan kasama ang malawak na masa na patuloy na magmulat, magpakilos, at mag-organisa para itaguyod ang kulturang pambansa, siyentipiko at makamasa na dapat tangkilikin ng sambayanan,” Sining Bugkos concluded.
[Like his father, the new Marcos Jr. will never win. Rather, there is no doubt that the raging spirit of the country’s artists along with the broad masses will continue to educate, mobilize, and organize to promote the nationalistic, scientific and mass-based culture]
Read their full statement thru bit.ly/ItakwilANB.