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[IRL] “K.K.K.” NG ARTISTS FOR LENI

By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento



The British poet W.H. Auden wrote that “Poetry makes nothing happen.” Yet it was a man of letters, the poet Jose Maria Sison, with the pen name Amado Guerrero, who founded the Communist Party of the Philippines from which sprang the longest-running political insurgency in the world. It’s not true that most artists are unworldly or apolitical types. Jose Rizal’s novels and the writings of his other Indio and mestizo contemporaries ignited the first Philippine revolution of 1896. Before and after the First Quarter Storm of 1970, many writers, theater and film creatives were political prisoners. Among them were: Ricky Lee, Jose “Butch” Dalisay, Bonifacio Ilagan, Mila Aguilar, spouses Roger and Fe Mangahas, the brothers Pete and Emman Lacaba (the latter was horribly tortured to death), Alan Jazmines and the National Artist for Literature, the late Bienvenido Lumbera. After EDSA People Power I, and to this day, artists such as Ericson Acosta and the late Carlos Celdran have been incarcerated or unjustly persecuted. Auden has also warned against confusing art with propaganda: “If the criterion of art were its power to incite action, Goebbels (the chief Nazi propagandist) would be one of the greatest artists of all time.”


The role of the creative industries in the GDP is increasingly recognized and acknowledged. Creatives are also at the crest of the rising Pink Wave which has inspired so many songs, jingles, poems, komiks, graphic designs for posters, fliers, T-shirts, a nation-wide political fashion advocacy that On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink, and more importantly, a grassroots movement of radical love and fact-based truths.


Last Valentine’s Day was one of hearts and roses too, for the artists or creatives who came to PUSUAN ANG SINING AT KULTURA: State of the HeART by Artists for Leni. Five National Artists: Virgilio Almario (Literature), Alice Reyes (Dance), Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera (Visual Arts), Ramon Santos and Ryan Cayabyab (Music) got together for the launch of the Kartilya ng Katipunan sa Kultura at Kasaysayan [K.K.K.]: Samahan ng mga manunulat, alagad ng sining, mananaliksik, taliba ng kasyasayan at manggagawang pangkultura ng Pilipinas na pinapatnubayan ng diwa ng Himagsikang 1896. Virgilio Almario aka Rio Alma is K.K.K. president. Opisyal ad hoc include Butch Dalisay, Ma. Luis T. Camagay, Noel Ferrer, Jerry Gracio, Jona Guarin, Eilene Narvaez, Jayson Petras, Amparo Adelina Umali and Galileo S. Zafra.


Inspired by Emilio Jacinto’s Kartilya ng Katipunan and the spirit of 1896, here is the Kartilya ng Katipunan sa Kultura at Kasaysayan [K.K.K.]:

  1. Itaguyod ang isang pambansa at makabansang kultura at kasaysayan batay sa diwa ng Himagsikang 1896;

  2. Pangalagaan at palaganapin ang isang kulturang mapagpalaya, malikhain, at mapagbago;

  3. Tangkilikin ang saliksik at pagsisiyasat na nagdudulot ng wastong pagtingin sa kasaysayan at naglalantad sa mga halagahang kolonyal, baluktot na katwiran, at mapanlinlang na salaysay;

  4. Isulong ang Wikang Pambansa bilang pambansang sagisag pangkultura at wikang opisuyal ng pamahalaan at edukasyon, habang pinangangalagaan ang lahat ng wikang katutubo, at nililinang ang kasanayan sa Ingles at ibang wikang internasyonal;

  5. Ipagbunyi ang patakarang pampolitika at pangkabuhayan na nakasalig sa tumpak na pagpapahalaga sa kultura at kasaysayan;

  6. Ipagtanggol ang panlahat at pantay-pantay na pag-iral ng mga karapatang pantao, lalo na ang karapatan sa malayang pagpapahayag at pagtitipon, at ang ganap na karapatang tumuligsa at sumiyasat sa mga gawaing tiwali ng mga pinuno sa gobyerno at mga institusyong pampolitika at pangnegosyo;

  7. Bakahin ang kultura ng karahasan, ang politika ng paglilinlang at pagsasamantala, at ang mga batas at tuntuning nagpapairal ng ganitong kultura at politika;

  8. Paunlarin ang industriyang pangkultura at ang produktong Filipino;

  9. Palaganapin ang edukasyong demokratiko, at mga programa para sa pagtaas ng literasi sa buong kapuluan;

  10. Paglingkuran ang kapakanang pangkalusugan at pangkabuhayan ng mga manggagawang pangkultura.


As Emilio Jacinto, the author of the original Kartilya ng Katipunan, said: “Ang buhay na hindi ginugugol sa isang malaki at banal na kadahilanan ay kahoy na walang lilim, kung di damong makamandag.”


Let a thousand flowers—not just roses—bloom for Inang Bayan.




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Menchu Aquino Sarmiento is an award-winning writer and a social concerns advocate. IRL (In Real Life) are short verbal pagmumuni-muni, the essay equivalent of fast fiction--but in real life. She really wants more Filipinos to care, and to do something legal and non-violent about it, preferably together, so that we act more like a civilized country, a mature democracy.



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