#ArtistsFightBack: Ely Buendia, Saab Magalona and other artists urge performers to oppose anti-terror bill

June 10, 2020 - 4:34 PM
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Ely Buendia with guitar
Ely Buendia performing in this photo uploaded on his Facebook page on Jan. 16, 2020. (Photo from Ely Buendia via Facebook)

Ely BuendiaSaab MagalonaAgot Isidro, and some of the country’s filmmakers and workers in the creative industry recently expressed their support to junk the anti-terrorism bill that was transmitted for President Rodrigo Duterte‘s approval on Monday.

These artists signed an online petition called “#ArtistsFightBack” launched by DAKILA Philippines, a non-profit organization that consist of artists advocates working together for social change.

The signature campaign was created by local artists, creatives and creative workers who are against the passage of the Anti-Terrorist Act of 2020.

“We, the free artists and cultural workers of the nation, strongly condemn the swift and reckless passing of HB 6875 or The Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB), as well as the manner in which it was voted on,” part of its statement reads.

“Coming from various disciplines—actors, writers, directors, producers, musicians, designers, visual and performing artists, cultural workers, etc.—and cultural organizations, we are one in our call to #JunkTerrorBillNow,” the petition added.

The petitioners also raised alarms on some of the bill’s provisions that the organization said would affect artists whose jobs are “to incite.”

Section 9 of the proposed measure talks about “Inciting to Commit Terrorism” which states:

“Any person who, without taking any direct part in the commission of terrorism, shall incite others to the execution of any of the acts specified in Section 4 hereof by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations tending to the same end, shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twelve (12) days.” 

The petitioners said that artists are “vulnerable to the subjectivity and the impreciseness” of the provision since their job calls for them “to incite.”

“To trigger emotion and to question. To move. To mobilize. Our responsibility is to serve the truth, whether or not it is aligned or in accordance with the government’s stance,” they added.

They also called it a “clear impingement on the Constitutional right to freedom of expression, not just of artists, but of any Filipino who should be allowed to express dissent.”

“We are this nation’s storytellers. We are watching, and we will act,” the petitioners said.

Singer-songwriter Buendia shared the link of the online petition on his Twitter account. It has so far reached more than 1,300 likes and over 300 retweets.

Band member and celebrity mom Magalona also expressed her support to the petition.

Actress and vocal administration critic Isidro also called on her friends in the industry to support the petition while movie and television director Antoinette Jadaone similarly joined the initiative and included the hashtags “#DissentIsDuty,” “#ArtistsFightBack” and “#JunkTerrorBillNow.”

Filmmaker Quark Henares, the son of Dr. Vicki Belo, also signed and shared the online petition while writer-performer Juan Miguel Severo urged his fellow artists to sign and share the petition on their own profiles.

Independent musician Bullet Dumas, meanwhile, asked his fellow artists—or “artibista”— to join the calls to junk the anti-terror bill.

Several showbiz personalities have also joined the calls to junk the anti-terror bill which had provisions that were seen to potentially stifle dissent and curtail constitutionally-protected civil liberties.

Local actresses include Angel LocsinKathryn Bernardo, Nadine Lustre, Heart Evangelista, Lauren Young and Janine Gutierrez, among others.

RELATED: Why local celebrities are joining online call to scrap Anti-Terror Bill

Beauty queens Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray and Patch Magtanong also expressed their support to scrap the proposed measure.

International personalities likewise joined the calls to protest against the bill. This include American drag queen model Aquaria and fellow drag performers Manila Luzon and Ongina, as well as vlogger Bretman Rock and actor Darren Cris.

RELATED: #JunkTerrorBill call goes global: Aquaria, Bretman Rock, Miss U queens, more celebs rally behind online petition

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines this week labeled some of the anti-terror bill’s provisions as “contrary to the Constitution,” which is considered as the highest law of the land.

Some of these provisions include the legalization of wiretapping, granting of warrantless arrests without redress of grievances and having a vague definition of terrorism.   

The bill was submitted for Duterte’s approval on Monday amid the withdrawal of support from several lawmakers at the House of Representatives.

However, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Wednesday morning that the chief executive will “review the provisions of the bill even more closer” due to public interest.

Duterte has 30 days to review the bill and decide whether he will sign it into law or veto it. Non-action on his part would make the bill automatically lapse into law after the period.