THE vandalism incident in Lagusnilad underpass in the city of Manila has triggered online and real-life conversations on whether the act was an art protest or purely vandalism.
Protest slogans quipping “Presyo, Ibaba! Sahod, Itaas!” and “US-China Layas!” were noticed on the wall along the stairs of the underpass few days ago.
Hence, I get where Mayor Isko is coming from when he said that those who sullied the walls should lick their graffiti, because it costs a fortune to clean and restore those areas. Truth is, that money could have been wisely utilized for other purposes such as for indigent patients in the Philippine General Hospital, or relief initiatives for quake-hit areas in the country.
Consequently, a group called Panday Sining, owned up for what they did and explained their motive for it.
“To the public: sorry for the inconvenience, but the matter and issues at hand are urgent. Left and right, ordinary people are being killed or jailed for criticizing this corrupt and fascist government,” the group noted on a lengthy Facebook post.
But they aren’t going to stop, are they? Actually, they did not.
True enough, graffiti, murals or other forms of art have been used as ways to express resentments against the government and society in different parts of the world for years. However, we are still talking about legality and vandalism here. And the law clearly stipulates that it shall be unlawful for any person to deface or cause to be defaced, by painting, writing, scribbling, scrawling, drawing, smearing, coloring, stamping or inscribing, the walls, siding, partitions, fences, gates, doors or window panes of buildings, edifices, houses or structures, whether public or private, lamp posts, street signs, streets, sidewalks or other public property.
Even so, we challenge the “artist” behind to either shove it up or take your work to proper platforms if you really deem that this will simultaneously serve a public good through its nuanced social commentary and artistry.
Because by all means, social media walls are waiting, and they are for free. Then, let the public decide who’s to glorify and who’s to vilify through likes, shares and comments.
Stay active until our next chat!