redantDárlán Páléncìá Bárcélón


There is a chilling effect on both the independent filmmakers and its audience in producing films with themes centered on socio-political stories, particularly on civil and political rights as government tags their work as communist propaganda.

The recent accusation lodged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the independent short film producers and artists as a communist recruiter – was a poignant tagging of being a nonpartisan sector of the Philippine society.

The core of our civil rights and privileges are again at risks with this government blurred vision on progressive films tackling abuses, oppression, and dissents during the martial law years.

The Philippine constitution has unambiguously enshrined its social contract with the sovereign Filipino people under Section 4.

“No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”  

Being autonomous and liberated and discussing the horrors of Martial law in the country is normal as it discusses the pages of our history from 1972 up to 1981.

Deviant as it may seem as the film “Liway” was filmed on the account of a child prisoner whose parents was arrested, incarcerated and eventually released after Marcos was deposed in 1986, cannot be tagged as a “pro-communist” film.

The film simply narrated the social injustices suffered by the Illongos then in the island of Negros, where the promised land reform that will emancipate rural farm workers from the bondage of poverty who are under the control of landlords and sugar barons was never distributed to the tillers and was a total failure – is a simple narrative.

The film Liway, which this columnist watched is no different from the stage play we had performed during our college days in Divine Word College of Legazpi – Kip Oebanda’s Liway and Felipe Santander’s El Extentionista are parallel.

The two pieces of films are both theatrical masterpieces in their own rights as their works touch on the problems of marginality and the exploitations of the peasants by simply opening a discourse and summon social consciousness towards critical thinking.

The accusation is vicious and full of slander on the people behind the film production as it earned a communist tag rather than an accolade.

The baseless and sweeping indictment on the filmmakers writing films against the Martial law is plain censorship.

From their Commander-in-Chief, down to Chief-of-Staff are so socially detached and so apathetic in justifying their perceived fears through the fascist’s paranoia to oust him from power called RED OCTOBER.

They are losing the sight of the Northern Star in their pursuit of navigating the counter-revolution as they recklessly mistaken all anti-Martial law films produced today are a piece of communist propaganda.

This government is suffering a bureaucratic disorder as the military think-thanks are so myopic and failing to grasp between the legitimate discourse using a free expression as a means under the democratic space as a communist revolutionary propaganda.

In other words, once these narratives of free expressions through theater arts are construed as such and the military “insists” forever, the Armed Forces of the Philippines can not guarantee any given space in the Philippine archipelago as a conflict manageable place if they will regard all progressive films as an ideological propaganda.

Deviance is not a crime and the faithful portrayal of social reality must be told and discussed freely. But, pursuing a counter-insurgency template managed by schizoid military personalities – a tactical win in putting the enemies of the state under the inconsequential level cannot be achieved under this administration.


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