Artists, filmmakers rage against AFP ‘slander’
Hands off our films!
Some 700 members of the broad community of filmmakers and media workers on Friday called out the Armed Forces of the Philippines for saying that movies about martial law were being used to recruit students to the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
In a statement issued during a press briefing at the University of the Philippines Diliman, the group described the AFP’s allegations as “slander of the worst kind,” and said the military’s claims could endanger them and their audience while also impinging on the filmmakers’ right to freedom of expression.
“We wonder why the AFP slanders us. Have they now become active defenders of the Marcoses and the criminals behind martial law?” the group asked.
NPA ‘recruitment’ hubs
The AFP has been drawing flak from several groups following the claims of the assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., that at least 18 Metro Manila schools were being used as recruitment hubs by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
In particular, Parlade claimed that movies about human rights abuses under the Marcos dictatorship were being shown “to incite students to rebel against the government … while projecting President Duterte as the new Marcos.”
Contrary to the AFP’s claims, the signatories said, their screenings provide “invaluable service” to the youth by educating them on the atrocities committed under martial law during the regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos.
“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,” their statement said.
FB page trolled
Kip Oebanda, director of the independent film “Liway,” said that since the military released its unverified report, the Facebook page of his movie tackling martial law had been flooded with accusations that they were part of the so-called Red October ouster plot against Mr. Duterte.
“This is not brainwashing, but a challenge to students to respond to films, whether they agree with them or not,” said visual artist and filmmaker Kiri Dalena.
Ping, Chiz weigh in
Also on Friday, two senators criticized the AFP for lacking “common sense” and trying to “curtail freedom of speech and expression as well as academic freedom,” with its unvalidated intelligence report on the “recruitment” activities of communist rebels in schools.
Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief, said it did not make sense to preemptively identify the schools since “[a]nnouncing targets of intelligence efforts effectively renders the mission accomplishment extremely difficult if not impossible. It is common sense.”
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the list should never have been released to the public, “as they curtail freedom of speech and expression and academic freedom.”
The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (Carmma) said the government’s attempt to equate protests against the Duterte administration with communism was a “desperate effort” to discredit the people’s movement and intimidate those who supported it.
“These protests are legitimate and were built on the basis of widespread repression and oppression perpetrated by the Duterte government,” said Carmma lead convenor and former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.
Joma: What teleconference?
CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison described as “a psywar (psychological warfare) lie” the military allegations that he had held teleconference calls with several students. “That’s not true … Where are the recordings?” Sison said in an online message sent to reporters.
Even if it were true, there was nothing malicious about it, Sison said, since “students and all people have the right to speak freely and teleconference about the terrible conditions in the Philipines under the brutal, corrupt and mendacious Duterte regime.” —WITH REPORTS FROM DJ YAP, JAYMEE T. GAMIL AND CEDRIX PEREZ
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