Thursday, May 12, 2011

Free Ericson Acosta! by Karlo Mongaya

from Misreadings by Karlo Mikhail Mongaya

Now that I’ve graduated, I still won’t be able to update this blog more frequently because of the new task I’m taking on with KABATAAN Partylist in Panay. What I can do, however, is to at least regularize postings to at least once a week if possible.

As my first “post-graduate” blog post, allow me to write a bit about the case of political detainee Ericson Acosta. We had one of his prison poems, “Tala,” published in the upcoming BUSAY – the official Literary Folio of the University of the Philippines Visayas in Miagao.

Ericson Acosta is described by the individuals and groups campaigning for his freedom as an artist, journalist and cultural worker illegally arrested by the Philippine military last February 13, 2011 in San Jorge, Samar. He is presently detained at the Calbayog City sub-provincial jail in what he and his supporters alleged as trumped-up charges of illegal possession of explosives.

He was writing a report on the Human Rights situation in Eastern Visayas at the time of his unlawful arrest. Despite the physical and mental torture subjected to him by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Ericson continues to take up a defiant spirit. He has even written poems and diary pieces in his jail cell. His prison writings can be checked in the Jailhouse Blog.

Being a recent graduate of the University of the Philippines Visayas in Miagao involved in the student movement in the campus, I find interesting Ericson Acosta’s three-part account of his political awakening and transformation from a student in UP Diliman with lumpen-like bearing to full-time service for the people: WELCOME VISITORS v.2.1, WELCOME VISITORS v.2.2, and WELCOME VISITORS v.2.3.

Bagamat magpapatuloy ang dating mga gawi sa ilan pang panahon, ang nabanggit ko nang kontekstong pulitikal sa loob ng pambansa-demokratikong kilusan ng mga taong 1994 ang magpapakita sa akin ng pangangailangang mas malalimang siyasatin ang sarili tungo sa isang pag-igpaw. Mas tuwiran ko ring makikita sa mga aktibista ang malalim, tapat at mapagpakumbabang katalinuhang hindi lamang hinuhugot sa mga libro kundi sa aktwal, programado at kolektibong praktika sa mapagpalayang kilusan.

At walang duda, ang tuwirang paglahok sa buhay at pakikibaka ng masang anakpawis sa lungsod man o sa nayon, ang nagbibigay sa akin ng lakas upang patuloy na igpawan ang pagsulpot o pag-atake ng ilan pang nalalabi sa mga dating gawi at kahinaan, gayundin upang pangibabawan ang kahirapan at mga sakripisyo na kaakibat ng pagiging isang aktibista.

Written under precarious circumstances, his prison writings are exemplary of a writing that partakes in the people’s struggles through the uncompromising negation of the ruling system and commitment for liberation.

Ericson Acosta is not alone. He is one of the at least 103 victims of illegal arrest and detention from July 2010 to March 2011 under the so-called “Human Rights-respecting” Noynoy Aquino regime. There are moreover tens of thousands others who, like Ericson Acosta and other political detainees, continue the fight for national liberation, social justice, and genuine democracy.

Free Ericson Acosta! Free All Political Prisoners!

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