Before anything else, please go and watch “Respeto,” which starts its commercial run today.
Winner of the “Best Film” award in the recent Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, “Respeto,” which tells the story of a young teen’s aspirations for stardom in the local rap scene, might turn off some “oldies” because the theme might seem too strange and removed from our lives. But it could surprise you yet and bring you to new levels of awareness about life in these islands.
I hope enough moviegoers are motivated to watch on a weekday because, the filmmakers bemoan, if it doesn’t gather a big crowd, “Respeto” might be pulled out even before the weekend. And we would all be the poorer for it.
Taking place at the historic Club Filipino where Cory Aquino took her oath of office as a high point of the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, some 50 organizations nationwide — with politicians among them — gathered for the launch of “Tindig Pilipinas,” which means “Stand Up Philippines,” on Monday.
Timed to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, the launch of Tindig Pilipinas marks the gathering of forces of various persuasions who are, so they stated, “alarmed, indignant and outraged by the path our nation has been led to.”
It is a path, said the organizers, “filled with violence, contempt for law and hate,” adding that they decided to come together because “we want this nightmare to end,” declaring that “it is time for our country to stand together, time to stand up and be counted.”
My apologies to the organizers for missing the event, but from pictures I saw online, the stage was chockfull of faces familiar and new, writ with a new resolve to regroup and marshal forces against the dismaying, disheartening, dangerous and dark developments taking place in our midst.
Personalities from the broad range of politics, civil society, and even youth groups took turns reading parts of Tindig Pilipinas’ statement, which addressed, among other issues, the narrowing space for democratic speech in this country. “Free speech,” the statement said, “has been replaced with hate speech. Humiliation, not just invective, is hurled at women, minorities, dissenters and institutions that incur the ire of the President, his appointees and even by small but vocal groups claiming to speak on their behalf.”
But even more condemnable has been the spate of killings done in the name of the war on drugs, with the body count breaching the 12,000 mark. These, said the statement, have eroded the “nation’s security and social stability,” with the country polarized and communities “paralyzed in fear.”
Indeed, said the groups, the Philippines in the past year or so “has slid down the slippery slope toward dictatorship and authoritarianism. We cannot in conscience, as a country and as a people, continue to sit [idly by]. We must stand up.”
And standing up our people are. Aside from other protest actions taking place across the metropolis, other urban centers in the country are also gearing up to host their own martial law commemorations and protest actions. (Is Davao taking part, I wonder?)
So numerous and widespread are the protest actions that government has even declared tomorrow a holiday. Although the President, in another enigmatic explanation, said it would be a “holiday of protest.” Well, at least we know they are feeling the reverberations of public unrest. Enough to even hold an earthquake drill on that same day? Ha-ha.
Walk for a cause this Sunday, Sept. 24, starting at 8 a.m. at the Quirino Grandstand, when “Alay Lakad” marks its 45th anniversary.
Conceptualized in 1972 to benefit marginalized boys and girls in need of schooling and training, “Alay Lakad” has benefited more than 70,000 out-of-school youth thus far. Alay Lakad Foundation president Frank Evaristo is inviting everyone to take part in the walk to finance scholarships, educational assistance and livelihood training. Chairs of the National Coordinating Committee is Lions Club International led by John Siy and Anson Ong. Theme of this year’s “Walk for a Cause” is “Kabataan para sa Pagbabago” (Youth for Renewal).
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