We condemn in the strongest terms the arbitrary abduction and arrest of the members of Panday Sining by the Manila Police Department this afternoon. Four of our members were abducted by police in civilian clothing while riding a jeepney around the vicinity of Mendiola after the successful Bonifacio Day protests by workers and youth. Among the arrested was a minor. They were man-handled and beaten while being dragged outside the jeepney.
As a cultural organization committed to art in the service of the people, Panday Sining took part in the protest to extend its support for the workers demanding for higher wage and an end to contractualization. Hence, the attacks on cultural workers are attacks on the people’s interests.
To commemorate the birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, Panday Sining’s protest art posed the question: “What would Bonifacio do?” In the time when the nation is under a de facto Martial Law via Oplan Kalasag in the National Capital Region, or Duterte’s “whole-of-nation approach” under Executive Order No. 70, it is but just to speak out.
Protest art in the time of narrowing space for free and critical thinking is not only just but necessary.
We demand the immediate release of these people’s artists. We demand an end to the Duterte regime’s tyranny amid the people’s just demands.
We call on all artists and cultural workers to create and distribute art that exposes genuine social realities and articulates the people’s demands.
Panday Sining will not cower and stop in its mission to create art that arouses, organizes, and mobilizes the masses. Panday Sining’s audience, the broad masses of the people will continue to advance in its struggle to oust this despotic regime and achieve national liberation and democracy!