Thursday, July 29, 2021

Tell It to SunStar: Censorship that’s demoralizing

PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde and DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano should resign from their posts and, just like others, apply to be chosen as TV scriptwriters for ”Ang Probinsyano,” or any other program they wish to write scripts for.

But while Albayalde and Ano occupy positions of power, they should know their proper place and obligation: To defend the constitutional right to free expression, even when it is deemed inconvenient or critical.

We in the media and arts alliance LODI stand solidly behind the cast and crew of “Ang Probinsyano” against any cheap attempt by the chiefs of the PNP and DILG to wrongfully use their power to censor their creative output on the flimsiest of reasons.

All Filipinos should take notice of what’s happening. The attempted censorship of “Ang Probinsyano” could be a trial balloon for future attempts of the Duterte regime to crack down on media and the arts, just because the fictional story headlined by Cardo Dalisay is different from what the regime wants us to believe.

Both Albayalde and Ano claim that the story of “Ang Probinsyano” demoralizes the ranks of policemen in this country. They should look for a mirror and join President Duterte in staring at it. If there’s anyone who demoralizes law enforcers, it is this regime that presides over an orgy of extrajudicial killings both in the cities and the countryside. When the president orders law enforcers to break the law by killing suspects, even kids and seniors, that’s how one demoralizes the police.

In the remote instance that they choose to resign from the PNP and DILG, Albayalde and Ano would surely flunk the application process for scriptwriters. Head writers and producers nationwide cannot easily forget the laughable “Red October” fiction they foisted on the nation just recently.

This is the same PNP chief and the same DILG chief who shamelessly explained that Duterte ally Imelda Marcos cannot be arrested and detained after she was convicted for seven counts of graft. Elsewhere, they order the immediate arrest of poor and sick senior citizens tagged either as drug addicts or communist leaders.

And why would these creatives hire goons who wished to censor them when they had the power and the chance? Albayalde should understand that “to serve and protect” doesn’t refer to himself or to the president. It refers to the Filipino people, including their artists and journalists.

Next to the multiagency crackdown on Rappler and Maria Ressa whose coverage earned the ire of Duterte, the regime now looks to harass the cast and crew of “Ang Probinsyano” that is telecast by ABS-CBN, a network which Duterte recently wished to be denied a legislative franchise.

LODI calls on all Filipinos to thwart this attempt at censorship by Duterte flunkeys. Let us defend the artists’ right to freely express themselves, and to present and depict social realities. Let us unite to protect artists from the tyrannical overreach of the PNP and DILG. - LODI (Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity) Arts and Media Alliance


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