Monday, 10 August 2020

STATEMENT on the Recent Red-Baiting Against the Film and Artistic Community

We, filmmakers, media workers, artists, cultural workers, academicians and other members of the film and artistic community, deplore the recent statements of the assistant deputy chief of staff for operations for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., who essentially accuses us and the organizations that sponsor film screenings on martial law of recruiting for the New People’s Army.

This is red-baiting and slander of the worst kind. It impinges on our right to freedom of expression, speech and assembly, and endangers us and our audience, especially in the context of the Duterte regime’s murderous anti-war and counter-insurgency campaigns and the President’s recent pronouncement that “rebels” are now targets for “neutralization” or can be arrested without warrant, despite constitutional guarantees against it.

Our film screenings provide an invaluable service to the youth, the students and the general audience, especially since our education system has largely failed in informing them about the systemic atrocities that happened during the martial law era. The screenings hope to provide them with knowledge and insight into that dark chapter in our history, especially since many of the actual perpetrators and beneficiaries of that fascist dictatorship have fully rehabilitated themselves back into mainstream politics and into positions of power.

The screenings help them understand the roots of fascism, and how our failure as a society to stamp out those roots have led to its resurgence. Our events have also become venues for discussion and dialogue, between us as artists and documentarians of reality and the youth and the people we wish to serve. On the whole, we have hoped to equip the audience with information and critical skills so that they themselves can adequately decide the course of action to take as responsible citizens of the country.

We wonder why the AFP slanders us. Have they now become active defenders of the Marcoses and the criminals behind martial law? Or do they merely wish that the youth and the people remain ignorant of their central role as an institution in the wholesale trampling of our democratic rights—then and now?

As the people are unlikely to believe such hysterical lies by the AFP, we urge them to continue to support the exhibition of films and other informational materials on martial law. Let us further spread the word. We will not be cowed by these threats even as we will continue to condemn and expose these threats. The screenings will go on—and multiply—in schools, in communities, in factories, in farms, in offices, in migrant gatherings. The truth telling will continue!

#StopTheAttacks on our democratic rights!
#NeverAgain to martial law!
#NeverForget the atrocities!

For the latest list of signatories, please visit this link.