DAKILA, the artist-activist group behind the Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival, condemns the ‘red-tagging’ of the Duterte administration of schools, youth, artists and groups organizing Martial Law-themed film screenings. DAKILA, a group known to organize film screenings complemented with discussions on social messages of the films it screens in schools, communities, cinemas, and alternative spaces reacted after the Armed Forces of the Philippines issued a statement implicating 17 schools as part of the alleged “Red October” plot of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
According to DAKILA OIC-Executive Director Rash Caritativo, “DAKILA vehemently condemns this administration’s malicious and groundless red-tagging against students, educational institutions, and creative avenues like film screenings as part of the Duterte government’s orchestrated attack to condition the minds of the people for this looming dictatorship. “
Caritativo further claims, “In a democracy, citizens have the right to criticize the government without fear of any repercussions or their safety and well-being. The lies and groundless allegations of the government clearly intend to justify its crackdown on activists, to tag legitimate protests as acts of terrorism, and to ultimately push its tyrannical advances. This clearly impinges on our right to freedom of expression, speech and assembly, and endangers all of us – as artists, as audiences, as students, as educators, as parents, and as citizens.”
DAKILA has been organizing human rights-themed film screenings and forums in schools nationwide since 2008. It has been presenting films tackling a wide array of human rights issues from gender and reproductive health rights to children’s rights and climate justice. In the past, it has conducted nationwide roadshows of historical films like Heneral Luna and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral which encouraged discourse on issues on our Filipino identity, national struggle for freedom, and the concept of nationhood. Every year, DAKILA holds its Active Vista Human Rights Festival which showcases the best social advocacy films.
Active Vista Executive Director Leni Velasco, said, “Attacking venues for critical discourse and education like schools and film screenings through red-tagging puts the lives of innocent civilians, especially our youth and our artists, at risk and in danger. Its real intent is to keep our people ignorant and misinformed so those in power can continue to feed lies, deceit, and a narrative that perpetuates only their self-serving interests to conceal the truth of our current social conditions.”
Velasco added, “Formal education and alternative spaces of education have important roles to play in building our nation. It provides citizens with knowledge and information, and allows them to reflect and analyze, so that they can make informed decisions about their future and contribute to nation-building. By attacking learning institutions and artistic endeavors as a form of expression and reflection, what this government wants is to keep our people divided, sow fear, and silence voices of dissent. This ‘red-tagging’ is clearly the tool of tyrants who are scared of the growing people’s resistance against dictatorship.”
Active Vista has been screening Martial Law-themed films like Citizen Jake and Respeto in schools nationwide to spark discourse on current social issues, educate students on the perils of Martial Law, and encourage critical thinking among audiences. DAKILA is a non-partisan group promoting the movement for modern heroism especially among artists and the youth.
“In times of darkness, art and education shed light to social realities that surround us. They are our ultimate weapons to reflect on our social conditions and shape our genuine path to national development,” Velasco further added.
DAKILA together with other organizations, youth and cultural groups, and artists are set to hold a Human Rights Festival to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights this December 10, 2018. The festival shall feature film screenings, performances, talks, exhibits, workshops, a youth summit, and a concert to show the united action of the people in the promotion, protection, and defense of Human Rights in the Philippines.
In ending, DAKILA’s Rash Caritativo said, “If this administration is willing to make such preposterous claims towards educational institutions, youth, educators, artists, and cultural workers, then they must also realize that they have only fueled the flames of resistance igniting in campuses and communities.”
“For every attack of this administration on our rights and freedoms, a thousand film screenings shall emerge in all spaces; artworks on social realities shall blossom; and discourse on social conditions shall flourish in schools, churches and communities, online and offline,“ she concluded.