Last November 12, the newly-cleaned Lagusnilad underpass in Manila was found to be vandalized. On the freshly painted walls, graffiti was painted to reflect leftist slogans and remarks. Some examples of the painted protests were to call for the lowering of prices for basic goods and the increase of minimum wage.
Cultural youth group Panday Sining stepped forward to claim responsibility for the vandalism. They released a statement on their Facebook page explaining the rationale behind the graffiti. They begin by apologizing: “To the public: sorry for the inconvenience, but the matter and issues at hand are urgent. Left and right, ordinary people are being killed or jailed for criticizing this corrupt and fascist government.”
“The space for peaceful and democratic speech is already being compromised by the regime as it pushes to criminalize dissent with its de facto Martial law nationwide in the name of Executive Order No. 70. Repression is rampant amid worsening poverty, joblessness, and hunger brought about by the Duterte regime’s adherence to foreign, big businesses, and landlord interests,” they continue.
The group then goes on to justify their actions: “That is why Panday Sining, a cultural organization of the youth, conducted its Graffiesta as a response to these worsening economic and political state of the nation.”
“We understand and recognize the sentiments of the public, but it is also high time that we talk about the worsening attacks to our democratic rights. The purpose of our protest art isn’t to spite the citizens of Manila but to sound the alarm of the public against these injustices. The clear enemy is the fascist US-Duterte regime,” they write.
In reference to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno’s outrage at the act, they address: “We are very much willing to talk with Mayor Isko Moreno about the matter as he shares the same sentiment about wanting just and lasting peace.”
Ending the statement, they share a call to action. “We call on all artists to speak out and utilize our art as a means to expose the injustices under Duterte and to fight for our democratic rights. We urge the people to oppose the de facto Martial Law and to frustrate the Duterte regime’s attempt to silence us.”
What do you think about this?