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‘The need to change the order of things’

Today is the 85th birth anniversary of stage and film actor and director Benjamín Roberto “Behn” Holcombe Cervantes, founder of the University of the Philippines Repertory Company. He was also a founding member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, the Philippines Education Theater Association and the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

Thrice imprisoned for his activism and opposition to the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Cervantes became one of the most recognized freedom of expression campaigners of the Philippines until his death in 2013.

During his second incarceration at the Bicutan Jail in Taguig in January 1978, Cervantes wrote to his family: “The history of the case is of course my consistent position as opposition to martial law and my work in the university as a teacher and a director. During these past few years, I have become known as one of the most vocal dissenters. My movie, Sakada, and my plays, especially the last one, Pagsambang Bayan, show the exploitative nature of this system, the evils the ruling class commit on the many, the need to change the order of things.”

(Jo Maois Mamangun/Kodao)

Groups defend artist from QCPD’s ‘harassment suit’

Groups condemned the Quezon City Police Department (QCPD) for filing charges against activist artist Max Santiago for alleged violations of environmental laws during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s last State of the Nation Address.

The Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) said the charge against Santiago and others is a “harassment suit,” adding the emissions from the burnt effigy “are nothing compared to the criminal conduct and neglect of this administration.”

The police accused Santiago, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)’s resident artist, of violating the Ecological Waste Management Act (Republic Act9003) and the Clean Air Act (RA 8749) in connection with the burning of an effigy last July 24.

Three other “John Does” were charged along with Santiago.

In its complaint, the QCPD said the burning “greatly contributed to air pollution which grossly negates the government program in ensuring the protection of public health and the environment.”

The police added the effigy that showed a two-faced Marcos was a “deliberate disrespect to the President.”

CAP however said an effigy is an art form and not solid waste.

“It is not garbage or refuse,” CAP argued.

“It is hypocritical of the state to allege this when it cannot even address the problem of worsening traffic and its emissions, urban and industrial waste, and other government regulated practices that contribute to environmental destruction,” the group added.

CAP said the lawsuit is an attack on freedom of expression and the right of the people to redress and expression of grievance, particularly during a political event.

“Why expend public resources on this just to save face when the realities that the effigy reflects and expresses remain unaddressed?” CAP secretary general Lisa Ito said.

BAYAN meanwhile said it will contest the charges and defend Santiago.

“It should be noted that it is only under the presidency of Marcos Jr. that such a case was filed,” the group pointed out.

“Clearly this infringes on free speech. QCPD is ignorant of the law. It wants to regulate the content of the protests under the guise of enforcing an environmental law that is inapplicable in this situation,” BAYAN president Renato Reyes said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Artists condemn death threat against artist Boni Ilagan

Groups of artists condemned the death threat on multi-awarded artist Bonifacio Ilagan, saying the incident is yet another desperate ploy against activists and progressive cultural workers.

The Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) and the Kilometer 64 Writers’ Collective (KM 54) said the threat against Ilagan is part of ongoing fascist attacks against political dissenters.

Ilagan reported to colleagues he was at a pet store in Quezon City in the afternoon of January 2 when he received a call from an unknown number.

He recalled that the caller introduced himself as a commander of a unit tasked to wipe out suspected Communists like the veteran activist.

Ilagan added that the caller warned him to desist from his activities as their so-called unit is just waiting for the “final order from the higher ups.”

“[The caller] said they would surely get me, and that I should not ask for mercy. It would be futile, because I had already been warned,” Ilagan reported.

“While the man didn’t say outright that they would kill me, his point was all too clear: They could,” Ilagan added.

The artist said that while he received his share of messages that cursed and threatened him in the past because of his activism, Monday’s incident was the first time that he received a call that said much more.

“There is no other reason I can think of behind the threat but my activism that goes way back to the 70s,” Ilagan said.

 Quick condemnation

CAP said in a statement Wednesday that it condemns that crackdown against activist artists like Ilagan.

KM 64 added that the threat against Ilagan is part of an old strategy against critics of anti-people government policies.

Human rights group Karapatan earlier reported that that at least 17 civilians became victims of mass surveillance and extrajudicial killings from July 1 to November 30 of 2022.

“We are in solidarity and we stand with Bonifacio Ilagan and all other cultural workers who are part of the people’s history by fighting for truth, genuine freedom and human rights,” KM 64 said.

Who is Boni Ilagan?

Ilagan was a student activist during the Ferdinand Marcos Sr. dictatorship who led the historic Diliman Commune uprising at the University of the Philippines in 1970.

Ilagan was abducted in 1974 and was subjected to various forms of torture. After being conditionally released on 1976, Ilagan continued his activism and became a multi-awarded stage and film playwright.

READ: Sino si Boni Ilagan?

He was again arrested in the 1990s but was released after three months in detention.

He was among the thousands of petitioners who filed a class action suit against the Marcos estate that awarded millions of dollars as indemnification to thousands of Martila Law victims.

He is a member of SELDA (Semahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensiyon at Aresto) and co-convened the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA), an organization composed of martial law survivors that seek accountability for the various rights violations of the late dictator, his cronies, and the Marcos dynasty.

READ: Bonifacio Ilagan: Gawad Plaridel 2019

Ilagan was named the winner of the prestigious Gawad Plaridel in 2019, given by the College of Mass Communication of his alma mater University of the Philippines. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Artists, cultural workers: #StandWithRappler

The Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), an organization of Filipino artists and cultural workers, expresses their solidarity with Rappler as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a revocation order of its certificates of incorporation.

Dated June 28 and signed by SEC chairperson Emilio Aquino and four other commissioners, the order reaffirms its decision to revoke the papers of Rappler in their records and system.

For Prof. Lisa Ito, the secretary-general of CAP, the SEC’s order of revocation vs. Rappler is “an attack not only on the institution but [on] freedom of the press and expression.”

Ito urges her fellow cultural workers to #StandWithRappler and other media workers “in holding the line and carrying on the struggle for truth.”

“The SEC’s move to revoke Rappler’s papers is censorship by closure, happening on the cusp of a Duterte-Marcos term. It is an attack not only on the institution but to freedom of the press and expression. We as concerned citizens and cultural workers must stand with media workers in holding the line and carrying on the struggle for truth.” — Prof. Lisa Ito, Secretary-General, Concerned Artists of the Philippines

A tribute to the best father

For Leonilo “Neil” Doloricon

By Victoria Doloricon-Roque

Earlier this year, I asked Pa if he wanted to do, as a teacher, an online course about linocut prints (since I myself loved learning from online courses especially during this pandemic). I thought this as a nice platform to not only showcase to people his art but to learn and understand the process and to know what goes through the creative mind of Leonilo Doloricon as an artist. I was so into the thought of really coming up with an online course and proposed to my Pa, that my sister, Kat would be the person to film it. As I was discussing this, he looked at me and gave me his usual smirk and jokingly said, “Baka naman bumaba reputasyon ko niyan ah.” He then with the calmest voice but with the biggest smile said, “Na-nominate kasi akong Professor Emeritus (UP).” I was already extremely proud of him for who he was at University of the Philippines but for him to be nominated with this high of a recognition is beyond words.

For those unfamiliar with this recognition, the UP Faculty Manual defines professor emeritus as a title for life and is conferred upon retired faculty members in recognition of their exceptional achievements and exemplary service to the university.

My father and I would always have this back and forth inside jokes about our personal achievements. I would brag about my simple achievements, while he would again give that same smirk and just simply share with me his achievements and accomplishments (that for me would seem impossible to achieve) and we would laugh. He would always win of course. That was who he was to me.

My father loved sharing stories of himself to us. He would forward to me art critique articles of him, videos of him being interviewed, and smile at how many people appreciated and shared his editorial cartoons. The last video I watched was the “Ep4 mARTy TALKS: Neil Doloricon”. I remember telling him after watching the video that I didn’t know he did comics before. But then again, I remembered being the one assisting him to fax his editorial works to Kabayan and to call them to make sure if they received my papa’s drawings. He smiled and said, “Those were the days.” I would share with him my insights on everything he would share with me, but many of those he said in the videos/articles were too profound for me to understand. (LOL)

When I was little, I watched my father do his oil paintings at the living room. I would sit beside him excitedly and he knew, gusto kong makisawsaw. He would always worry that I might damage his masterpiece. His technique to keep me busy was to tape a piece of paper beside his canvass for me to scribble on instead. I remembered he once told me, “Anak, wag mo sanang gawin ito. Gutom dito.” I didn’t understand what he meant at that time but I always happily did my scribbles, which I considered masterpieces as well. Looking back on his statement, it not only made me understand the struggle it is to be an artist but how passionate my father was in his craft as he persisted in doing it considering all the hardships along the way. We are not a rich family but we really never felt the struggle that he mentioned. He was our bread winner and did all of his work while juggling his graduate studies, taking care of his mom, our relatives who stayed with us and, of course, us.

With all that was going on in his life, I never actually heard him complain. He, being the big brother among his cousins, would be the person they would go to when they needed help. It was like he would always leave the house door open to those in need.

One time at his office, when he was still working at The Manila Times, he ushered me and kuya to an empty table and gave us bond paper and pencil to get ourselves busy while he finished his work. One of his co-workers passed by and he saw my drawing and he said to my father, “Aba, mana sa tatay.” I looked at Papa and he looked at me back with the biggest smile. This memory remains with me to this day. In fact I carry it with pride and I felt the inner artist in me when I was to select the course I would take in college. He suggested Architecture because he knew I could draw. But he was frank enough to tell me my skill set then were not Fine Arts standards.

To prepare me for the college entrance exam, he taught me to draw objects in isometric and I practiced for days prior to my exam. During the exam, I remembered handing my drawing and I was proud of myself for having followed my father’s advise of an isometric made out of a combination of shapes. Until I saw my seatmate handing his work as well of a perspective of a building, complete with tonal values and shadows, that is. Luckily, I passed.

My father is my hero, the person that I looked up to very highly in just about all aspects of life. He would be that person I seek advise from. I would get easily hooked at a wide range of things to do. Whatever catches my interest at that given time, I would zoom in on it and share it with him to seek for his approval. From reading books / articles, playing the piano, playing the guitar, doing watercolor / painting and even cooking. Him, being good with both music and arts, would be that person I talk to regarding these. I would forward him recordings of me playing the piano of a simple musical piece, hoping he would be able to distinguish what music I played. It would be the same type of conversation with painting. He would always give me tips on how I could improve. He used to criticize me strongly when I was in high school. Recently, he would patiently tell me, “Mangopya ka ng artist. Tingnan mo paano nila gawin. Doon ka matututo.” He kept reminding me to not aim for prizes but to find my own belief and it would guide me along the way.

My Papa’s studio was this big space upstairs next to my bedroom. I would always be reminded that it would be morning already whenever I hear Carlos Santana and Norah Jones’ songs blasting on the radio and Papa playing the drums along. After a song or two, he will go back to painting.

My Papa was emotionally attached to his pieces. When I was in college, I saw one of his prints being displayed for sale in one of the computer shops in UP Shopping Center and I told him about it when I got home. He got so upset and he kept asking me to describe in detail the exact art piece that I saw and he wondered who would do that to his artwork. Honestly, I regretted telling him about it because of how bothered he was with the whole incident. He put so much passion in his work and treats each work of art as a treasure. In fact, he was hesitant to give an artwork of his to my then boyfriend, now husband, Mikko’s family because he was afraid of what may happen to the artwork if we were to break up. This stems from a bad experience way back when an art piece made by him was given by my Lola to a close friend. The two later had a falling out and, to get even with my Lola, the close friend burned the art piece. Papa put so much time and love into his craft and to see someone else destroy it hits him to his core.

Another interesting story about one of his artwork was when I handed my father’s sketch of Macario Sakay to my professor, to the latter’s great delight. When my professor requested for discounts on Papa’s prints, my father gladly agreed.

I will miss his cooking. He is our personal master chef at home. He always used to make me cold cut sandwiches he called gourmet sandwiches in high school for my baon. Our Sundays would always be a feast. Mornings, he would cook halaan and shrimp, which he himself would finish off as he was the only seafood lover at home. In the afternoon, I would be in charge of the barbecues while he would make his favorite red sauce spaghetti.

Kat and I would always prefer white sauce instead, but he would quickly brush our comments off and say, “Eh, gusto ng Kuya niyo ay red.”

Papa would willingly sacrifice himself for us. He would literally offer everything that he had just for us to be happy. Kahit yata paa niya, ibibigay niya para lang hindi niya kami makitang magdusa. I never felt the burden because he was always there for me when I needed help. When I had a growing cyst in my neck earlier this year, I was so afraid as to what it was and how I would be able to pay the bills if my situation worsens. He told me that part of one’s income from will eventually be spent for our health. That’s life. He actually offered money, which I declined. I was so ashamed of myself for complaining about everything while he never hesitated in offering help.

It’s hard to be away from my family and my father would always that person who I would call initially for comfort almost daily. Whenever I feel anything or whenever there’s some news I would love to share, I would call him immediately. He would almost always pick up and be glad to hear my stories even though he would be busy doing some other things. My father and I would have long conversations together about everything going on in life. No matter how bizarre, outrageous, insensitive the topic is, he listens and he gives his views. Pero, minsan, tatawanan ka muna niya, especially when you are serious. Lahat ng seryosong bagay, to lighten the mood, gagawin niya munang biro. I always run to him whenever I doubt myself and he would always be there to comfort me with his wisdom, hoping it will put me in a right path. I also remember, in high school, I asked him why he didn’t go abroad to work. He told me he didn’t want to be away from me and the whole family. I always felt safe because I knew he would always be around for me and the family.

The intense pain I am feeling right now as I’m writing this is immeasurable. I desperately want to call him now to tell him I’m feeling extremely sad. But I realize he was the reason for this sadness.

Reality is hitting me hard, because I know from this day onward, the person on the other side of the line of this phone call will never pick up.

Pa, Mama, Kuya and Kat are so grateful that you are our father. I hope you will have eternal peace. Don’t worry about us Pa. We will take care of each other. Nagawa mo na at nabigay mo na lahat!

Hanggang sa muli, Pa. Mahal na mahal ka namin. #

Mga tula para kina Nonoy at Neil

ANG IKALIMANG BULKAN NG NEGROS

Ni Raymund B. Villanueva

Ang Negros ay may limang bulkan:

Kanlaon, Talinis, Silay at Mandalagan

Habang ang iba’y himbing, madalas magbuga ang una

Pinaka-masipag ang panlima, ngala’y Nonoy Espina.

Totoong ang Kanlaon ang pinakamatayog

Ngunit si Nonoy ang siyang bantayog

Siyang walang tabing na ulap at sinag sa tuktok

Ulo’y yukod sa lupa, korona’y puting buhok.

At kung si Nonoy ang nag-iingay

Hindi lamang ungol, hindi lamang dighay

Sabog kung sabog, walang awatan

Tulad ng apat, tunay ring bulkan.

Ngunit ang apoy niya’y biyaya

Liwanag sa karimlan, sa dibdib ay pag-asa

Pampatining ng bakal, pampatibay ng tuhod

Sa mga nanghihina’y pantuwid ng gulugod.

Bawat pagsabog niya’y pagpapala

Alay pagdaka ay matabang lupa

Tayong mortal ay hinikayat magtanim

Sa bukang-liwayway ay may aanihin.

Ating bulkan man ngayo’y himlay

Hindi niya nais ang protracted na lumbay

Bakas niya’y habang buhay na gabay:

“Taena, bok, gapiin ang kaaway!”

–1:20 n.h.

  16 Hulyo 2021

  Lungsod Quezon

= = = = = = = =

PANÁTA NI DOLÓ

(Pagkaraán ng “Alípin ng Gútom”, Linocut, 18”x18”, 2015)

Ni Rene Boy Abiva

(i)

Pinupúnit nitong tínta, pinsél, at kámbas ang bagsík

Ng balutìng púro dugô. Di yatà’t pawang taláhib

Na mabilís makasúgat sa mga paá’t balíkat

Papakín mo man ng halík ay tiyák na magnanaknák.

(ii)

Kung gayon, ang báwat hágod ng patúlis at manipís

Na brótsa ay pawang tukâ ng tandáng na bumabásag

Sa báwat madalîng-áraw. “Doló! May imórtalidád?”

“Walâ! Pantásya lang ito ng pala-túlog na burgís!”

(iii)

Halá! Bángo’t magsigísing kayóng mga maka-síning,

At h’wág sanang ikatwírang ngayón lang kayó nagisíng!

Matutúhan niyo sana na kung kayó’y isáng bagtíng

At sa digmàan gamítin, alípin ay magpipigíng!

(iv)

Ah! Mukhâng tamà nga yatà ang sabi ng matatandâ

Doón sa libís ng Tayug, lupàng mahál ni Calosa,

“Íngatan mo’t parámihin itong mga sambásambá,

Pagkát mínsa’y itinumbá nilá ang gintông kalésa.”

(v)

Ganyán, ganyán ang kamandág! Nakakanginíg ng pálad!

Yaóng para kang bumúhat ng tubó túngong kamálig,

O nagkamáda ng batóng umugáog sa daigdíg;

Ganitó nga kung wásakin ng ’saáng pintór ang ligálig.

= = = = = = = = =

(Ang mga tulang ito ay handog kina Jose Jaime “Nonoy” L. Espina ng National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) at Leonilo “Neil” O. Doloricon ng Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP). Si Nonoy ay pumanaw noong Hulyo 7 samantalang si Neil ay namaalam noong Hulyo 16, kapwa sa sakit.

Kapwa silang kasaping tagapagtatag ng kani-kanilang organisasyon at mga kagyat na dating tagapangulo ng mga ito sa panahon ng kanilang kamatayan. Si Nonoy ay tagapangulo ng NUJP mula 2018 hanggang Marso 2021 at si Neil nama’y tagapangulo ng CAP mula 2019 hanggang Mayo ngayong taon.

Mga nangugunang tagapag-tanggol ng kalayaan sa pamamahayag at ekspresyon, huling nagkasama sina Neil at Nonoy sa pinakalamalaking pagkilos para sa karapatang ito ng bansa noong 2020 sa harap ng ABS-CBN sa Lungsod Quezon.)

Eminent artist Neil Doloricon dies

Leonilo “Neil” Doloricon, eminent visual artist and social realist, died early Friday morning, July 16, his daughter announced on Facebook.

Doloricon died in a hospital at past three o’clock this morning, his daughter Kat said. He was 63 years old.

“At 3:40 am we woke up from a call from my papa’s doctor that he just passed away. They tried to revive him but he didn’t make it,” the younger Doloricon announced.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Artists’ Circle describes Doloricon as a social realist painter, printmaker, social critic and educator.

At the time of his death, Doloricon was a professor at the UP College of Fine Arts which he served as Dean from 1998 to 2001.

He was also chairperson of the Committee on Arts and Humanities in the Commission on Higher Education.

A print by Neil Doloricon.

Doloricon was an awardee of Gawad para sa Sining Biswal of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and holder of the Fernando Amorsolo and Guillermo Tolentino Professorial Chairs at the said college.

From 2017, he served as chairperson of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines  and was named the organization’s chairperson emeritus at the end of his term in May this year.

He was a long-term editorial cartoonist of several newspapers, including The Manila Times and Malaya Business Insights. He was working at the former at the time of his death.

He also served as managing editor of alternative newspaper Pinoy Weekly.

The UP Artists’ Circle said Doloricon was one of the pillars of social realism in the Philippine art scene and was popular for his paintings, murals, and relief prints that depicted the struggles of the masses.

In one of the first tributes to the artist, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) chairperson Dr. Carol Araullo described Doloricon as a true people’s artist.

“So, so sad. Grieving from the moment I heard the news. Paint the heavens in rainbow hues, Neil Doloricon. Or better yet, redesign the heavens through your social realist and sharp political lens,” Araullo wrote.

BAYAN secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said Doloricon was a pillar of progressive visual art in the country.

Doloricon had many exhibits throughout the country and abroad, among the latest of which were in Berlin and Moscow.

Both his prints and paintings are most sought after by many collectors. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Petisyon kontra-Terror Law inihain ng mga mamamahayag at artista

Inihain ang ika-13 petisyon kontra sa kontrobersyal na Anti-Terrorism Law kaninang umaga, Hulyo 23 sa Korte Suprema. Pinangunahan ito ng National Union of Journalists of the Philippines at Concerned Artists of the Philippines.

Hinihiling nila na ideklarang labag sa batas ang Anti-Terror Law dahil sa mga probisyon nito na napakalawak na depinisyon patungkol sa terorismo. Gayundin magiging sandata din ito para sikilin ang sinumang nais magpahayag ng pagtutol lalo na sa gobyerno. (Bidyo ni Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)

“Babangon Tayo (We Will Rise)”

by Concerned Artists of the Philippines

https://www.facebook.com/artistangbayan/videos/2494585867469199/

Official lyric video for “Babangon Tayo (We Will Rise),” an original composition of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines released in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, March 2020. This song is a tribute to our frontliners, and the power of the Filipino people.

Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) is a Filipino organization of artists and cultural workers committed to advancing freedom of expression and the people’s movement for justice, nationalism, and democracy.

Subscribe to CAP on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoLbDUeKtQwRSzRkNH1l_UQ/…
Follow CAP on Facebook: http://www.fb.com/artistangbayan
Follow CAP on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/concernedartists_ph/
Follow CAP on Twitter: https://twitter.com/artistangbayan

Babangon Tayo (We Will Rise)
Words: Joel C. Malabanan, Edge Uyanguren, Karl Castro
Music: Mrk. Estandarte
Vocals: Jessa Mae Gabon, Pia Pimentel, Edge Uyanguren
Violin and additional backing vocals: Jing Reyna Jorge
Acoustic guitar: Pats Loquinario
Recording: #StayAtHome

Video by Pao Sancho and Maria Estela Paiso
Animation by Jether Amar
Special thanks to Jewel Maranan and Cinema is Incomplete

Download chords (PDF) here

KUNDIMAN by Chickoy Pura and friends

The Concerned Artists of the Philippines organized a benefit concert for Chickoy Pura last September 27 at the University of Philippines Hotel.

Here is Chickoy Pura and his musician friends performing “Kundiman”. (Camera by Ron Magbuhos Papag, editing by Raymund B. Villanueva)