Thursday, July 28, 2011

Marikit Sings "Dahil"

13-year old Marikit Saturay sings Ericson Acosta's "Dahil" during the Free the Artist Solidarity Dinner held last July 13 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Bilang nag-iisang bilanggong pulitikal dito sa sub-provincial jail ng Calbayog City, Western Samar, nais kong ipaabot sa lahat ng iba pang bilanggong pulitikal sa buong bansa na ako’y kaisa sa apat (4) na araw na fasting o pagliban sa regular na pagkain na nagsimula ngayon, Hulyo 22, at gagawin hanggang sa araw ng State of the Nation Address o SONA ni Pangulong Benigno Aquino III sa Hulyo 25.

Kaisa rin ng mahigit 300 bilanggong pulitikal sa bansa ang mahigit 20 pang detenido pulitikal na narito, o mula rito sa Silangang Kabisayaan, kagaya ng mga NDF peace consultant na sina Eduardo Sarmiento na nasa Crame, at Jaime Soledad na nasa Leyte Provincial Jail; lider-pesante na si Dario Tomada na nasa Manila City Jail, sina Paterno Opo, at Felicidad Caparal; ang mga magsasaka na tinaguriang “Catbalogan 5”; at iba pa.

Noong 1994, bilang aktibista at editor ng Philippine Collegian, ay nakiisa ako sampu ng iba pang kabataang aktibista sa isinagawang hunger strike ng mga detenido sa pangunguna noon ni Donato Continente, na bago nabilanggo ay isa ring aktibista at myembro ng istap ng Collegian. Hindi ko akalain na gagawin ko muli ito ngayon habang ako na mismo ang nasa likod ng mga rehas.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts Pledges Support to the Campaign to Free Ericson Acosta

22 July 2011


Dear Mr. Acosta:


As you mark your159th day in prison today, away from your family and friends, our thoughts and the empathy of the civil society will be with you. The injustice of your continuing detention mirrors the injustice that the more powerful has inflicted on our society and our people for so many years. All these times, you have never reneged on your promise nor wavered in your will to create works expressive of our present difficult but hopeful lives and meaningful to our people. We laud your choice to stand firm, at enormous personal cost, for the principles of liberty and justice. We likewise take distinct note of your instrumental role in the re-establishment of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) and your huge concern for the peasant sector and the oppressed since your campus days.

I want to assure you that as Executive Director, we will maintain a close interest in the fight of the more than 300 political prisoners in various detention facilities all over the Philippines.

We at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) join other non-government organizations like the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) in this call to end the culture of impunity. As the Nobel Peace Laureates’ Open Letter to Aung San Suu Kyi’s 60th Birthday read, “Freedom must be demanded and defended, by those who have been denied it and by those who are already free.”

Very truly yours,


Executive Director

NCCA Pledge of Support

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Free The Artist! Free All Political Prisoners!

Footage from this video is part of a documentary to be released by the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign with the help of friends from Habi Arts USA.


GUERRILLA MUSIC Production Presents


Guest Visual Artist: AIYA BALINGIT

July 26, 8pm
Route 196, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City
Tickets at Php 150

Our Cause: ARTISTS' ARREST in support of
the Campaign to Free Ericson Acosta

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thank You! (from Rice and Rights Network, Netherlands)

The Rice and Rights Network for Human Rights in the Philippines would like to thank everybody that supported the Free the Artist! Free Ericson Acosta! Solidarity Dinner held last July 13, 2001 at Amsterdamsestraatweg 50. Around 30 people came to share a simple meal to raise funds and awareness about the case of Ericson Acosta, a Filipino journalist, poet and songwriter falsely accused of illegal possession of explosives. Acosta is detained at the Calbayog City Sub-Provincial Jail in Samar province in the Philippines.

Ericson sent a message thanking those who attended the dinner. "Una sa lahat, gusto kong magpasalamat sa iba’t ibang sektor at organisasyon sa pagsusustini ng kampanya para sa aking pagpapalaya gayundin para sa iba pang bilanggong pulitikal... Nagpapasalamat ako pagkat dalawang grupo ng mga kasama na nasa magkabilang dulo ng mundo ang nagsasagawa ng aktibidad sa araw na ito (Hulyo 13) bilang suporta sa kampanya... Sa The Netherlands, mayroon ding Free the Artist Solidarity Dinner na inihanda ang Rice and Rights Network for Human Rights in the Philippines. Maraming, maraming salamat sa mga kasama para sa mga inisyatibang ito.

(I would like to thank the different sectors and organizations that are campaigning for my release, as well as for the release of other political prisoners. I am thankful that two groups of activists from opposite ends of the world held activities today, July 13, in support of the campaign... In the Netherlands, there was a Free the Artist Solidarity Dinner held by the Rice and Rights Network for Human Rights in the Philippines. Thank you, dear friends, for your initiatives!) . Read the whole message here.

The solidarity dinner is part of the Rice and Rights campaign for the release of political prisoners in the Philippines. Some of Ericson's works were performed during the activity. Marikit Saturay sang "Dahil" ("Because") while Jun Saturay rendered his English interpretation of the song's lyrics. Professor Jose Maria Sison recited his poem "In the Dark Depths." Sison wrote the poem during his 8 years of imprisonment.

A modest amount for Ericson's legal defense fund was raised during the solidarity dinner.

Free All Political Prisoners!

Join the Campaign to Free All Political Prisoners in the Philippines

through General, Unconditional and Omnibus Amnesty

Today there is an ongoing, protracted armed conflict in the Philippines with deep socio-economic and political roots. There is also much social discontent and political dissent that have been met with fascist repression by all governments since the U.S. granted the country its bogus independence. Thus trumped-up charges, illegal arrests and detention, torture and unjust conviction on false political and/or criminal charges constitute continuing and blatant violation of the people’s rights.

Political prisoners are those who are arrested, detained and imprisoned for acts in furtherance of their political beliefs. As a consequence, they are arbitrarily denied their liberty and due process of law.

They may be charged with political offenses such as rebellion, sedition and variations thereof.

But more often than not they are charged with criminal offenses in an effort to deny the political nature of their alleged offenses and to stigmatize them as plain criminals guilty of the most heinous crimes. Political prisoners are slapped with murder, multiple murder, frustrated murder, arson, kidnapping, robbery in band, illegal possession of firearms and others. These are all non-bailable offenses meant to keep the PPs incarcerated while court hearings proceeded at snail’s pace.

There are a total of 354 political prisoners (PPs) reported as of end June 2011. Majority were arrested under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, they being among the most determined in opposing the corrupt, repressive and puppet Arroyo regime. There are 27 who were arrested before Arroyo’s time and 47 under Benigno Aquino III.

Political prisoners, their families, people’s organizations, human rights organizations, lawyers’ groups, legislators, as well as international human rights networks persist in their efforts to rectify the injustice against political prisoners and other victims of human rights violations. They demand freedom for all political prisoners.

We call on President Noynoy Aquino to declare a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty for all political prisoners.

General means all political prisoners, or what the government refers to as alleged political offenders, covered by the effectivity of an Amnesty Proclamation, whether they are charged with political or criminal offenses.

Unconditional means no precondition is set before they can be released. They will not have to go through a tedious application process and will not be required to plead guilty or make any admissions. They only need to be covered by the definition and effectivity of the Proclamation. The operative act needed to effect their immediate release is their inclusion in a pre-screened list and acceptance of the General, Unconditional and Omnibus Amnesty Proclamation.

Omnibus means that all charges or offenses as defined in the Proclamation are covered by the amnesty.

Sign the online petition here and here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Maraming Salamat!

Maraming Salamat sa lahat ng mga nangharana sa Kalayaan!

Taren Lulu of KARATULA and Marjohara Tucay, Philippine Collegian Editor-in-Chief

Former Political Prisoner Donato Continente, former Philippine Collegian staff member

Karl Ramirez

Josh (cultural activist from US)

Friend from Belgium

Nato and Sarah

Larissa Suarez of Alay Sining and Philippine Collegian

BLKD, Lanseta, KJah

Stum Casia of Kilometer 64 Poetry Collective

Poet and former political detainee Axel Pinpin

Datu's Tribe


Mga Larawan nina Richard Dy ng Philippine Collegian at Sinag de Jesus ng SIPAT


"I’m thinking we could actually start a fad by printing or embroidering the Philippine archipelago upside-down on T-shirts to symbolize the heart of the people yearning for justice in a social system gone topsy-turvy; or this could, in fact allude to the historical task of the masses to invert the so-called social triangle." - from "RESBAK" by Ericson Acosta

End Impunity Now!

Free All Political Prisoners!


Email for orders.
Sales will go to Ericson's legal defense fund.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Campaign to free detained artist gains int’l support

On his fifth month of incarceration, poet and political prisoner Ericson Acosta gets the support of fellow artists from some 15 countries around the world.

Artists from all over the globe signed the petition calling for Acosta’s release on the event of the International Conference of Progressive Culture and the Agit-Prop International Film Festival held last July 1-6 at the University of the Philippines.

Among the signatories are filmmakers Mustafa Kilinc from Germany, Iara Lee from Brazil and Eric Tandoc from US; Mexican songwriter Rosa Martha Zarate Macias of the Solidarity Bracero Project; Palestinian songwriter Tareq Abu Kwaik; members of the Odaya Women’s Drum Group in Canada; Playback Theater and Theater of the Oppressed from Taiwan; and Habi Arts and Trust Your Struggle from USA.

Members of local cultural groups Kaboronyogan Cultural Network from the Bicol Region and Kuntaw Mindanao and Tugtugang Bayan from the Southern Mindanao Region also signed the statement calling for Acosta’s immediate release.

“His rights continue to be violated each day he spends in prison,” read the Free Ericson Acosta campaign statement initially signed by hundreds of artists and cultural workers, including National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Nanding Josef, Pen Medina, Bibeth Orteza, among others.

Meanwhile, more than 400 activists from 43 countries have supported the campaign to Free All Political Prisoners in the Philippines, by way of a resolution approved in the recently-concluded Fourth Assembly of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) held at San Mateo, Rizal last July 7-9.

The resolution called on President Benigno Aquino III to grant a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty for all political prisoners in the Philippines.

Acosta was arrested without warrant by the military in Barangay Bay-ang, San Jorge, Samar last February 13. After months of waiting for the prosecutor’s resolution on his case, Acosta’s lawyers have yet to receive copies of the court information on the illegal possession of explosive charge levied against him.

A check with the local courts in Samar revealed that court information on Acosta’s case is yet to be filed. His lawyers have since filed a motion for reconsideration with the prosecutor’s office for his immediate release. Acosta is still detained at the sub-provincial jail in Calbayog.

Campaign reaches Europe
In Europe, cultural activists led by the Saturay family of artists and musicians will hold a solidarity dinner, “Free the Artist! Free Ericson Acosta!” 6:30pm, Utrecht time, the Netherlands. The event is sponsored by the Rice and Rights Network for Human Rights in the Philippines.

Haranang Bayan, “Prison Sessions”
Tonight, the UP Philippine Collegian and Alay Sining, together with the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign, will also mark Acosta’s 5th month in detention with a cultural event dubbed Haranang Bayan 3 at the Backdoor Blues Cafe in Quezon City. It will be the third in a series of gathering of artists and cultural workers since Acosta’s arrest. The title of the event is also the title of a song composed by Acosta with UP-based group Alay Sining.

Acosta began taking activism seriously as a writer and editor of UP’s student publication, the Philippine Collegian. He later became chairperson of cultural group Alay Sining and student alliance STAND-UP.

A CD version of “Prison Sessions,” raw recordings of Acosta singing his compositions while in Calbayog jail, will also be launched in the said event. ###

Reference: Renato Reyes Jr
BAYAN Sec-Gen; Free Ericson Acosta Campaign convenor, 0929-5082902

Donat, Ditto, Dingbat

Si Donato Continente, Kule istap, aktibista, at bilanggong pulitikal, sa kanyang paglaya noong 2005.

(Unang nalathala ang akdang ito sa isyu 5 ng Philippine Collegian noong 12 Hulyo 2011.)

Hindi namin siya inabutan sa Kule. Noong ’80s, naging bahagi siya ng dyaryo hindi bilang manunulat o editor kundi bilang suporta sa istap. Pero isang araw noong 1999, hindi lang isang manunulat kundi ilang myembro ng istap at mga editor ng Kule ang sabay-sabay na bumisita sa kanya sa maximum security ng Bilibid.

Hindi biro ang ibinintang sa aktibistang si Donato Continente — ang pagpatay sa isang mataaas na ranggong opisyal-miltar ng US, si Col. James Rowe. Bagamat inako ng NPA ang pagpatay, hindi roon nagtapos ang pahirap kay Donat. Dalawang buwan siyang tinortyur para paaminin, at dahil sa presyur ng militar ay namatay ang nakababata niyang kapatid.

Si Donato Continente na nga marahil ang isa sa pinakatampok na bilanggong pulitikal sa bansa sa nakaraang dekada. Pinalaya siya noong 2005, matapos ang 16 taong pagkabilanggo. Nang tanungin siya kung babalik pa ba siya sa pagkilos bilang isang aktibista, ang sagot niya ay hindi, dahil wala naman daw siyang babalikan. Para sa kanya, kahit nabilanggo ay hindi naman siya lumisan.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Haranang Bayan 3

The Free Ericson Acosta Campaign, Karatula and the Philippine Collegian present


July 13, 2011, 8pm
Backdoor Blues Cafe, Kalayaan Ave., Diliman Quezon City

featuring performances from

Alay Sining and alumni
Datu's Tribe
Karl Ramirez

Haranang Bayan 3 marks Ericson's 5th month in detention. Ericson was arrested without warrant February 13 but information on the illegal possession of explosive case levied against him is yet to be available to his lawyers or the local courts in Samar. His rights continue to be violated each day he spends in prison.

A benefit solidarity dinner for Ericson organized by the Filipino community in Europe will be held on the same date in the Netherlands.


Prison Sessions CDs, Free Ericson Acosta shirts and pins will be available for sale at the venue. Email for orders. Sales will go to Ericson's legal defense fund.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Prison Sessions CD

Ericson Acosta: Prison Sessions
Unplugged, Unrehearsed...Under Detention

“‘Yung mga laman ng kantang yun…siguro yun ang dahilan kung bakit ako nandito.”
(Those songs.. must be the reason why I’m here.)

Cultural worker and political prisoner Ericson Acosta and BAYAN secretary-general Renato Reyes, Jr. first played together at the fourth floor of UP’s Vinzons Hall in 1994, during their student activist days. Both were members of the student cultural group Alay Sining.

This recording, which includes other raw tracks performed or written by Ericson Acosta, intends to
raise awareness of the situation of Acosta and other political prisoners who remain unjustly detained by the Philippine government.


Prison Sessions with Renato Reyes Jr,
recorded April 6, 2011 at the Calbayog sub-provincial jail

2. Kumustahan by Ericson Acosta / Alay Sining
3. Sa Aking Pag-ahon by Binky Lampano
4. Kay Hirap ng Buhay by Renato Reyes, Jr. / Alay Sining
5. Dahil by Ericson Acosta / Alay Sining
6. Magsasama, Magkasama by Ericson Acosta / Alay Sining
7. I Read the News by Binky Lampano
8. Alamat by Ericson Acosta / Alay Sining
9. Patay na ang Kabayo by Tambisan sa Sining

Ericson Acosta jam sessions

10. One by U2
11. First Light by Binky Lampano
12. Rage by The Jerks
13. Walang Kalabaw sa Cubao by Ericson Acosta / mixed by Mayo Uno Martin

Songs by Ericson Acosta

15. Awit ng Kasaysayan performed by Nato & Sarah
16. Haranang Bayan performed by Nato & Sarah
17. Pasensya (Live) performed by Anak ni Aling Juana
18. Dahil arranged and performed by Karl Ramirez
19. Kontradiksyon (Live) performed by Babes Alejo and Roselle Pineda
20. Haranang Bayan (Live) performed by Roselle Pineda, Jon Corsiga, Nato & Sarah
21. Paalam (Live) performed by Nato & Sarah, Aki Merced and BLKD
22. Duyan by Acosta Universe

Email for orders.
Proceeds will go to Ericson's legal defense fund