Art versus VAW: A different kind of fundraising

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Saturday, April 12, 2014


MANY people find visual artists unusual. Artists tend to perceive the world differently. They paint pictures of their choice using hues, strokes, subjects and materials depending on their mood. Their painting offers a reflection of their innate character. The canvas is a memory card full of kaleidoscope gigabytes of their own feelings of happiness, aspirations, frustrations, worries and guilt molded into one.

For them time is not of essence. The feeling of total freedom of expression of their craft is. They are entangled in their own time warp that only fellow artists can fathom. Inspiration comes naturally but not so easily. They continuously seek, work or even pray for a cause to draw—in search for meaning. Sometimes events and personal necessities prompt or force them to have one. But both inspiration and commitment seem to come in handy especially for something that is higher and beyond their own personal cause.

And that was what actually happened on April 8, 2014. Around two dozen local visual artists donated their “obra maestra” to the Art versus Violence Against Women (VAW) in Davao Raffle for a Cause campaign of Gabriela Women’s Party. After the passage of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-VAW and their Children Law of 2003, VAW became a household term for anything that physically, psychologically or economically inflicts harm on women and their children in a relationship. Violence is human rights abuse that demeans life and dignity. But sadly, the patriarchal social structure of the country tends to perpetuate violence against Filipino women than men in society.

Gabriela Partylist Representative Luzviminda C. Ilagan who graced the culmination program of the said fundraising campaign at the Thibault Building of Ateneo de Davao University, said that throughout history and until now the problem of VAW lingers despite numerous laws to protect women and children from abuse and exploitation.

“Our campaign today will be to support the victims of violence being served by our partner Luna Legal Resource Center Inc. as we know that court litigation is horrendously expensive, frustrating and time-consuming”, she said with authoritative gait being a wife of a prominent human rights lawyer during the martial law years. She also thanked the benefactors and the local artists who shared their talents for the cause of women in Davao “I thank our young artists who are our partners in this campaign and may your tribe thrive.”

According to the data of Luna, (not an acronym but a vernacular for “space” or “place”), a Davao-based institution serving indigent abused women and children which is the recipient of the fundraising, about 62 percent of 508 case being handled by the institution from 2008 to 2013 are in violation of RA 9262. Another 17 percent are rape and sexual abuse cases (R.A. 8353), six percent for physical injuries, threats and harassments under the Revised Penal Code, while five percent for child abuse under R.A. 7610. These figures do not include other forms of services of the institution like psychosocial counseling and referral to concerned agencies. Since 2012, Luna received a small grant from AVON Philippines to maintain a TABANG (Tabang Alang sa Babayeng Naabuso og Gidagmalan) Telephone Hotline 306-5761 to receive distress calls and queries from target groups.

Second congressional district representative Mylene Garcia-Albano who was guest and benefactor of the event lauded the campaign of Gabriela Partylist for the cause of women and children-victims of abuse and exploitation in Davao City. She acknowledged Gabriela, being represented by Reps. Ilagan and Emy de Jesus to be one of the most active members of the lower house. “We talked about this fundraising campaign with Ma’am Luz who promised to show me their programs and initiatives for women here in Davao which I could also help in the future”, she said.

Gabriela Southern Mindanao Region chair Emeritus Lyda J. Canson explained the whys and wherefores of the campaign and also thanked the Ateneo de Davao Social Research Training and Development Office, artists, benefactors, institutions and other organizations for being part of the campaign. She also hinted of another round of Art vs. VAW Raffle for a Cause this year where donated fine art works of local artists would be auctioned off to the public.

Among the “takers” or benefactors of the raffled art pieces were Vice Gov. Aileen Almendras of Davao del Sur, Cong. Antonio Lagdameo of the 2nd District, Davao del Norte; Rep. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Partylist, Dra. Mabeth Juarez of Rotary Club of Tagum LACES, Dra. Jean Lindo, Dra. Rosario Mansukhani, Dra. Darlene Estuart, Dr. Leopoldo Vega, SPMC; Dr. Mac Tiu of PWC, former Davao City Mayor Atty. Zara Duterte–Carpio, Ms Alma Uy, President Tagum City Council of Women Inc.; Francisco Tejero, Lun? Legal Resource Center for Women and Children Inc., Initiative for International Dialogue, and; Gabriela Women’s Partylist

The participating artists were Atty. Ritzel Rabor–Polinar, Lorraine Grace Gallegos–Upsang, Ariel Barreza Perote, Ronald Gaspe, Catalina Cosio, Magtanggol Noval, Bayan Intise, Rogelito Jun Cavas, Anton Cadayona, Alvien Reyes, Charles Ligan, Dominic Pilapil, Jester Oani, Kent Medenilla, Omar Caran, Zayen Cundayona, Qric Batilaran, Ralph Gideon, Regan Deiparine, and Victor Dumaguing.

The program was hosted by Profs. Aya Ragragio of UP Mindanao and Leah Jabilles of Ateneo de Davao University.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 13, 2014.

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