Four artists from Philippine street art collective Panday Sining have been arrested, reports the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The four were picked up by police during a political rally having sprayed anti government messages on walls close to Manila's LRT 2 Recto Station.
Among the slogans sprayed in Filipino were 'If Andres were still alive', 'Abolish de facto martial law', and 'What is the leader’s answer to martial law?'
The first is a reference to nineteenth century Filipino revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio, while the latter protest Executive Order No. 70, a 2019 law introduced by the Philippines' far-right president, Rodrigo Duterte, ostensibly to quash communist insurgency, but which gives the government unprecedented authority to prosecute its critics and opposition.
Jeanne Vaughn Quijano, 24; Joven Laura, 24; and Mikhail Collado, 18, and a fourth artist, unnamed as they are under the age of 18, are part of Panday Sining, a group founded in 1970 during the First Quarter Storm, a historic period of civil unrest. Posting on their Facebook account the the collective claim its four members were 'bullied, manhandled, thrown in jail... outright fascist assault has now reached the ranks of the people's artists'
In October several members of two theatre groups strongly critical of the Duterte regime were arrested. The detention of members from Teatro Obrero in Escalante City, who say police planted weapons on them, continues a trend of artistic repression that has seen the police intimidation of other community groups including drama collectives Bungkal and Bansiwag.
Manila mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, a former actor and star of the Philippines 'titillating films' industry, told the Inquirer that the group had received a warning following previous acts of 'vandalism': 'Now you have to face the consequences of violating the law'.
2 December 2019