NO to UPLB Campus Militarization
UPLB Community and other Concerned Citizens
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FACT SHEET is a human rights themed visual arts exhibit that aimed to expose the incessant human rights hostilities in the Philippines curated by multimedia group UPLB Zoom Out Multimedia Collective and Artists ARREST, an alliance of artists. The art works were based on real human rights cases and abuses summed up in fact sheets.
On December 8 and 9, said exhibit experienced deliberate harassment and acts of sabotage when artworks and other paraphernalia were purposefully stolen from the lobby and stock room of CAS Annex 2, UPLB in two successive attempts.
Notably, the incident has prior warning from the guard-on-duty in the aforementioned venue, mentioning possible sabotage by CSB operatives, citing the political bearing of the exhibit.
Needless to say, the military and the CSB, along with the private guards, have been inutile in securing the buildings and works of students, which was quite ironic because it was for security reasons that they are on such post. More so, judging from their acts of deliberate surveillance and the corroboration of the duty guard, they have been instruments in sabotaging the exhibit.
The throngs of military, private guards and CSBs deployed in the campus, and the surveillance cameras installed in buildings, did not at all help in providing security, and may perhaps been placed as instruments to intimidate students to freely exercise and conduct political activities. In a number of cases, the CSB has been caught taking pictures and videos of student leaders during protests, which, we can say, is quite lethal given the pattern it follows in the killings and abduction of political activists, including student leaders.
As Philippine artists and concerned citizens who feel that artistic freedom has been jeopardized in this event, we believe that the artistic repression during the FACT SHEET Exhibit is part of the systematic campus repression and state fascism that the government and the powers-that-be are sowing. We believe that the incident is not an isolated case, but is part of the larger ploy of the UPLB administration to paralyze the ever-growing student movement in the campus; and on the larger scale, the reactionary governments desperate move to silence its staunchest critics, among which are progressive groups and students.
For this to happen in a university touted to be as bastion of democracy and liberal thinking is a slap to the face of the UPLB Administration. In a number of times that the safety of student leaders have been put to risk by maliciously accusing as members of the New Peoples Army, the UPLB Administration has kept mum and has remained lame. This only proves how the Administration and its forces have encouraged the perpetuation of military-sanctioned terror and fascism inside the university.
It has been said that "a country without culture is like a person
without a soul." Artists and cultural workers mirror our society
through artful expression of its heritage and visions. Thus, as responsible and socially awakened artists and citizens, we cannot and will never let this curtailment of artistic freedom continue. We will strongly and vehemently defend, not only our artistic, but our civic rights as well.