MANILA, Philippines — Instead of spraying paint on the gates and walls of the police headquarters, an artist group used technology to convey their disgust over President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
What the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) did was to opt for a so-called “digital graffiti,” where projectors show a wanted poster with Duterte’s headshot in it, to demand accountability on various issues allegedly left behind by the government.
“Artists lit the walls of Camp Crame with digital images denouncing the various forms of human-rights abuses carried out by the Duterte administration,” the group said in a Facebook post on Monday night.
“This is part of a collective campaign of artists and cultural workers called Artists Fight Back, which aims to expose the government’s accountability for the successive attacks to our freedom of expression and public participation, civil and human rights, socio-economic and environmental rights, and democracy,” CAP added.
In the wanted poster, CAP described Duterte as a terrorist and a traitor, mainly due to the government’s bloody war against illegal drugs, the supposed attacks on Lumad communities, and the pro-China stance at the expense of national sovereignty.
Camp Crame in Quezon City is the main headquarters of the Philippine National Police, which implements Duterte’s drug war.
The digital graffiti was also placed in a mall in Cubao, but some of the netizens, especially supporters of the President, were not pleased with the move. According to one commenter, the group’s criticism of Duterte has gone too far.
“Sobrang pambababoy ang ginawa niyo sa pinakamataas na lider ng bansa natin. Yan ba ang ipinaglalaban niyo na freedom of expression? Talagang sa Crame pa ha,” she said.
(You are bastardizing the highest leader of our country way too much. Is that the freedom of expression that you are fighting for? And the nerve to place it in Camp Crame.)
Another Facebook user said that the move was a waste of talent as the art was supposedly serving the interests of leftists and communist rebels.
“Sayang na talento, Ginagamit sa pamamaraang hindi wasto. Mala NPA ang galawan nyo (What a waste of talent, using it in an improper way. You move like NPA rebels),” he said.
Recently, placing graffiti, especially of militant and protest groups, have earned the ire of the public after youth organization Panday Sining (PS) vandalized the newly-painted Lagusnilad underpass in the city of Manila.
Panday Sining’s action forced Manila Mayor Isko Moreno to declare the group’s members as persona non grata. However, Anakbayan noted that there seems to be a crackdown on protest art, since other graffiti, that of gangs and other artists, were not being called out.
INQUIRER.net has reached out to PNP but has yet to respond as of posting time.