Filipino writers issue Manifesto amidst election jitters

Filipino writers issue Manifesto amidst election jitters

Filipino writers across the globe affixed their names in a manifesto stating their promise to the nation amidst the chaos and uncertainties brought about by the upcoming national elections.

The manifesto, written in English and Tagalog, is supported by a growing list of more than 90 Filipino writers united by a common choice of weapon - the pen.

As it appeared in an article published by the Inquirer on Thursday, May 5, the manifesto served as an invitation to stand united behind the country and in defense of unfettered expression and free speech, regardless of people's differences in values and in the candidates Filipinos support.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A MANIFESTO

 

I am a Filipino writer.

I am one among journalists, fictionists, poets, essayists, bloggers, screenwriters, graphic storytellers, copywriters, playwrights, editors… Citizens, all—in a perilous place to wield a pen.

I stand for unfettered expression—to discuss, dispute, debate, dissent. For democracy is respectful disagreement—change persuaded, never imposed. And freedom cannot be dictated, for the right to speech empowers all others: to worship, and participate in society, to cry against injustice, and call for what is just. Speaking responsibly is my responsibility—but expression remains unconditional, essential to equality and universal liberty: To each citizen, a free vote; to every citizen, a free voice.

All of us, citizens, live in a world where the powerful thrive on secrecy and the privileged seek our poverty. Ours is a time when righteousness and faith are weaponized into fear and savagery, and life is dispensable to opinion and ideology. All of us, Filipinos, live in a country where facts are spun as black propaganda, and dynasties stage a masquerade of choice, and leaders prosper on our weakness and disunity. Ours is a society broken by those who benefit from its breaking.

I refuse to let that be the story of our people.

To our Filipino sisters and brothers—at home and around the world: I pledge my pen. My task is to listen, to give voices when you’ve none, and render us with all the humanity I can muster and the dignity you deserve. As a writer I work, and witness, inform, and incite. I shall concede my stance when proven wrong, aspire to constant civility, and safeguard our history from those who reap from its rewriting. This I vow. To this I will see.

To those who mislead for fake faith, profit, or political gain—the false prophets, corporations, and agents of disinformation: my enemy is your iniquity, rapacity, manipulation; my methods are clarity, creativity, careful investigation. I know, as you do, that your power sits solely in the pliancy of us people—and I refuse to sit idly as you crave our control. I shall match your inhumanity with plain and simple decency. This I vow. To this I will see.

To our leaders abusing power—elected or otherwise: I am watching, taking notes, recording for all time. I will mock you who’ve made a mockery of our democracy; yours will not be bronze statues in plazas, or elegies on brass plaques—for my words will outlive your influence, in a world that will know the ills you committed and the ugliness that you were. In life you’ve stolen from our country and our people, and in your death I will steal the respect you never earned and the dignity you never deserved. Try to censor me and I will find a way—to immortalize your infamy, defame your legacy, tell your children’s children with accuracy of what you did and precisely all you failed to do. Your punishment will stretch through the pages of perpetuity. This I vow. To this I will see.

For all histories have shown: Elections pass, systems crumble, but stories remain. Assassinate one of us—but another speaks louder. Pass laws to make us criminals—but our writing blooms beyond their reach. For history has proven: Jose Rizal is always remembered, Marlene Esperat never forgotten. Your weapons may be violence and money, but our tools are vigilance and memory.

For I am a Filipino. I am a writer.

This I vow, and this you will see: I shall not be silent. I cannot be silenced. I am not alone—our writing remembers, our laughter reminds. The truth of you the world will know. And it starts right here, with me.

ISANG MANIPESTO

Ako ay manunulat na Pilipino.

Isa ako sa mga mamamahayag, kuwentista, makata, mananaysay, blogger, scriptwriter, komiks writer, mandudula, patnugot—mamamayang nabubuhay kung saan mapanganib magsulat.

Naninidigan ako na malayang makapagsalita—para magtalakay, tumutol, makipagtalo, sumalungat. Pagtatalong magalang ang demokrasya. Nag-uudyok ito ng pagbabago, hindi nagpapataw. Kailanman, hindi maididikta ang kalayaan. Karapatan ng lahat na magsalita: para sumamba, makiisa sa lipunan, tutulan ang kawalang-katarungan, at manawagan para sa katwiran. Sa pagbibitiw ng salita, may responsibilidad ako. Pero walang anumang kondisyon ang pagpapahayag. Esensyal ito para sa pagkakapantay-pantay at kalayaang unibersal. Malayang boto para sa bawat tao; malayang tinig para sa bawat mamamayan.

Nabubuhay tayo sa mundo kung saan namamayagpag ang laksang lihim ng kapangyarihan. Hangad nila ang patuloy nating kahirapan. Sa panahon ngayon, iniaambang sandata ang pananampalataya at katuwiran para manakot at mag-asal-hayop. Ibinubuwis ang buhay ng tao para lamang sa ideyolohiya at opinyon. Nabubuhay tayong mga Pilipino sa bayan kung saan mistulang black propaganda ang katotohanan. Mapanlokong palabas ng mga dinastiya na mayroon tayong pagpipilian. Malayo na ang narating ng mga namumuno sa bayan dahil sa pagkakawatak-watak natin at kahinaan. Iginugupo ang lipunan natin ng mga taong nakikinabang sa pagkakalansag nito.

Hindi ko papayagan na ito ang maging kuwento ng ating lahi.

Sa mga kapatid na Pilipino dito sa Inang Bayan at saan pa man sa mundo: para sa iyo itong panulat ko. Tungkulin kong makinig, magpahiram ng tinig kung wala na ang sa inyo. Ilalarawan ko ang lahat sa paraang makatao, puno ng dignidad na nararapat sa iyo. Bilang manunulat nagsisikap, sumasaksi, nagbibigay-alam, at nang-uudyok ako. Sakaling mapatunayang mali, isusuko ko ang posisyon ko. Ipagtatanggol ko ang kasaysayan laban sa mga nakikinabang sa pagrebisa nito. Panata ko ito; bagay na tinitiyak ko.

Sa mga nagbabalak iligaw tayo dahil sa pananalig, kita, o benepisyong pulitikal—mga bulaang propeta, korporasyon, at ahente ng tiwaling kaalaman—tutol ako sa inyong kagaspangan, manipulasyon, at pagkagahaman. Laan akong magpaliwanang, maging malikhain, at magsiyasat ng buong ingat. Tulad ninyo, alam ko na nakasalalay ang kapangyarihan ninyo sa pagtitiis ng tao. At hindi ako uupo na lamang para patakbuhin ninyo ang lahat. Hindi ako magsasawang magpakadisente para tapatan ang inyong hindi-makataong paraan. Panata ko ito; bagay na tinitiyak ko.

Sa mga pinunong abusado sa kapangyarihan—inihalal man o hindi: nagbabantay ako, nagtatala para alalahanin ito habang buhay. Kayong kumukutya sa ating demokrasya, kukutyain ko rin kayo. Walang rebultong tanso sa plaza o mga papuring plake para sa inyo. Higit sa impluwensiya ninyo ang bawat salita ko, sa mundong tutuklas sa katiwalian at kahalayan ninyo. Sa buhay, pinagnakawan ninyo ang tao at bayan. Sa kamatayan, babawiin ko ang respetong hindi dapat at dignidad na hindi para sa inyo. Busalan man ninyo ako, pipiglas ako para talunin ang kasamaan ninyo. Yuyurakan ko ang mga iniwan ninyo. Isalaysay ko nang tama sa kaapu-apuhan ang mga nagawa at hindi ninyo ginawa para sa bayan. Walang humpay ang parusa ninyo. Panata ko ito; bagay na tinitiyak ko.

Dahil napatunayan na ng kasaysayan: nagwawakas ang mga halalan, nagigiba ang mga sistema, pero nananatili ang mga salaysay. Itumba man ninyo ang isa sa amin, may isa pang aangal ng mas malakas. Magpasa man kayo ng mga batas para gawin kaming kriminal, yayabong pa rin ang panulat namin lampas sa mga hangganan. Dahil pinatunayan na ng kasaysayan: patuloy na ginugunita si Jose Rizal; hindi nalilimutan si Marlene Esperat. Pera at karahasan man ang sandata ninyo katapat nito ang aming gunita at mulat na pagbabantay.

Ako ay Pilipino. Manunulat ako.

Panata ko ito. Hindi ako mananahimik o mapatatahimik, itaga mo ‘yan sa bato. Hindi ako nag-iisa. Hindi nakalilimot ang aming panulat; nang-uusig ang aming halakhak. Malalaman din ng mundo ang katotohanan tungkol sa iyo. At ngayon magsisimula ito, mula sa akin mismo.

Signed, chronologically (as of May 4, 2016):

MIGUEL SYJUCO

CLINTON PALANCA

LISANDRO CLAUDIO

JOEL PABLO SALUD

MARCK RONALD RIMORIN

RANDY DAVID

ALMA ANONAS-CARPIO

JIM PASCUAL AGUSTIN

SYLVIA E. CLAUDIO

ROMANO CORTES JORGE

AMBETH R. OCAMPO

CAROLINE S. HAU

DANTON REMOTO

ROFEL BRION

MARNE KILATES

NINOTCHKA ROSCA

IAN ROSALES CASOCOT

PATRICIO ABINALES

SARGE LACUESTA

J. NEIL GARCIA

KIMI TUVERA

GEMINO ABAD

LOURD DE VEYRA

MARITES VITUG

LUIS FRANCIA

JESSICA HAGEDORN

D.M. REYES

MOOKIE KATIGBAK LACUESTA

NICANOR TIONGSON

ISABELITA REYES

ROLANDO B. TOLENTINO

LINDA FAIGAO-HALL

MERLIE ALUNAN

NENI STA. ROMANA CRUZ

KARINA BOLASCO

NICOLA SEBASTIAN

RENE CIRIA-CRUZ

KRISTINE FONACIER

CRISELDA YABES

JOSE DALISAY

DEAN FRANCIS ALFAR

RAMON GUILLERMO

PATRICIA LIM

MONA LISA YUCHENGCO

GEMMA NEMENZO

CRISTINA PANTOJA-HIDALGO

NICK CARBO

GRACE TALUSAN

ALBERT B. CASUGA

SYLVIA L. MAYUGA

CARLOMAR ARCANGEL DAOANA

M. EVELINA GALANG

FH BATACAN

CARLJOE JAVIER

FELIX FOJAS

NADINE SARREAL

SUSAN S. LARA

RHANDEE GARLITOS

EUGENE EVASCO

DINO MANRIQUE

LINDA NIETES

GRACE R. MONTE DE RAMOS

JOHN LABELLA

KARL R. DE MESA

YVETTE PANTILLA-CARPIO

JAN PHILIPPE V. CARPIO

ROGER B. RUEDA

OSCAR V. CAMPOMANES

CHARLSON ONG

NOELLE Q. DE JESUS

MAXINE SYJUCO

SHIRLEY O. LUA

PAULO ALCAZAREN

TWINK MACARAIG

DEE MANDIGMA

MYRZA SISON

SHAKIRA SISON

LUIS P. GATMAITAN

THELMA ENAGE

RALPH SEMINO GALAN

LUISA T. REYES

REBECCA T. AÑONUEVO

MICHAEL M. COROZA

GERALDINE C. MAAYO

RAMIL DIGAL GULLE

MALOU JACOB

RONALD REYES

DARYLL DELGADO

NONOY ESPINA

ELIZABETH ONG

LOUIE JON A. SANCHEZ

LILA SHAHANI

JOIN THE GROWING LIST OF SIGNATORIES BY CONTACTING MIGUEL SYJUCO AT miguel.syjuco@gmail.com.

 

Related news

Jennylyn Mercado pairs up with newbie Gil Cuerva in 'My Love from the Star' remake

Jennylyn Mercado pairs up with newbie Gil Cuerva in 'My Love from the Star' remake

Jennylyn Mercado pairs up with newbie Gil Cuerva in 'My Love from the Star' remake