Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sulat kay Ericson mula kay Bibeth Orteza

Binasa ng batikang aktres, manunulat at direktor na si Bibeth Orteza ang sulat na ito para kay Ericson Acosta sa "Kumustahan mula sa Piitan" ng Concerned Artists of the Philippines nitong Oktubre 14, 2011 sa NCCA Intramuros.

Narito ang orihinal na sulat sa
Waray (katutubong wika sa Silangang Kabisayaan), at ang salin sa Filipino. Ipinanganak si Orteza sa Catbalogan, Samar, ilang bayan ang layo sa Calbayog City kung saan kasalukuyang nakapiit si Ericson.

Oct. 14, 2011

Maopay nga adlaw, Ericson.

Nacabati aco han recording han emo nga canta, han mga emo la solo, ngan an ha mag-opod camo ni Nato Reyes. Mag-opay nga mga carantahon; con may masiring nga diri malipay, sisidngan nga an ongod nga calipayan het ticang ha camatuoran.

Naawod aco nga deda ca ha Samar na-dacop.

Pera ca-beses na ene nga pagca-awod. An ona han pagca-posil ni Dr. Bobby de la Paz deda lewat ha Calbayog. Ada pa lewat an pagdaog ni Fernando Poe Jr. ha elecsyon ha pagca-presidente han 2004, ca-tima iguinlabog na la an ongod nga resolta. Ada pa an pagdaog han mga malimbong ha iba-iba nga parte han tibuoc nga isla. Maaram hera con heno han nabaligya han mga boto, maaram han langit con heno het mga perestehon nga napalit han mga boto.

Orhi co nga pagcada, damo pa’t mga carsada nga waray pa ca-semento, pero na-release na cono an pondo. Damo pa’t mga baryo nga waray coryente, waray escoylahan para ha cabataan, waray mga medisina ha ospital, damo nga labi pa ha damo nga waray para ha mga Waray-waray.

Naawod aco, Ericson, nga icaw, nagqui-quiquinada para magsorat ngan mangoha han inspirasyon ha dere na nacacapanhatag han inspirasyon ha heya mismo nga mga tawo.

Nahihiya ako, Ericson, na ako na diyan pa sana sa Justice Quonset Hut sa Catbalogan ipinanganak, naririto lang, at ikaw ang nariyan.

Naawod aco, Ericson, nga aco nga deda pa conta ha Justice Quonset Hut ha Catbalogan natawo, a-ade la, ngan icaw han a-ada.

Naawod aco, Ericson, nga aco, cay may ngaran, nag Outstanding Samarnon, doha pa ca beses, seguro cay an acon apoy nag Tresorero Provincial, het acon tatay nag Provincial Fiscal, het acon nanay nag Miss Catbalogan, ngan aco nag-artista, pero ano man lewat han outstanding nga nahimo co, compara han ha emo na hemo ngan mga hehemoon pa?

Naawod aco, Ericson, por eso, mabolig aco nga manguita han mga ca-oropod nga mga artista nga magyayacan, magra-rally, mag-aaringasa hasta ha macagawas ca. Ene nga butones — dere co na ene hohocason hasta macagawas ca. Maqui-quigyacan aco ha con heno nga mamamati dede ha gobyerno nga ene, hasta macagawas ca.

Waray opay han pagca-awod con hasta ha awod la.

Ayaw cabaraca, Ericson, con ano pa’t acon mahihimo, sereng la.

A-ade la cami. Waray ha amon ma-atras.

Amo la.


Oct. 14, 2011

Magandang araw, Ericson.

Nakarinig ako ng recording ng mga kanta mo, ng iyong mga solo at ‘yung magkasama kayo ni Nato Reyes. Maganda ang mga kanta. Kung may magsabi na hindi masaya, sabihan na ang tunay na kasiyahan ay iyong mula sa katotohanan.

Nahihiya ako na sa dyan ka pa sa Samar dinakip.

Ilang beses na itong hiya na ito. Ang una sa pamamaril kay Dr. Bobby dela Paz diyan din sa Calbayog. Nariyan din ang pagkapanalo ni Fernando Poe Jr. sa eleksyon ng pagkapangulo noong 2004, na pagkatapos ay ibinasura lang ang tunay na resulta. Nariyan din ang pagkapanalo ng mga kaduda-duda sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng buong isla. Alam nila kung sino ang nagbenta ng mga boto, alam ng langit kung sino ang mga namemesteng bumibili ng mga boto.

Noong huli akong pumunta riyan, marami pang kalsada ang hindi nasesemento, pero na-release na raw ang pondo. Marami pang mga baryo ang walang kuryente, walang eskwelahan para sa mga bata, walang mga gamot sa ospital, marami’t sobra pa sa marami ang wala para sa mga Waray-waray.

Nahihiya ako, Ericson, na ikaw, pumupunta riyan para magsulat at kumuha ng inspirasyon sa hindi na nakapagbibigay ng inspirasyon sa sarili niyang mga tao.

Nahihiya ako, Ericson, na ako, dahil may pangalan, nag-Outstanding Samarenyo, dalawang beses pa, siguro dahil ang lolo ko naging Provincial Treasurer, ang tatay ko naging Provincial Fiscal, ang nanay ko Miss Catbalogan, at ako nag-artista, pero ano nga ba ang outstanding sa mga nagawa ko, kumpara sa mga nagawa mo na at gagawin mo pa?

Nahihiya ako, Ericson, kaya tutulong ako sa paghanap ng makakasamang mga artista na magsasalita, magra-rally, mag-iingay hanggang sa makalaya ka. Itong pin na ito – hindi ko na ito tatanggalin hanggang sa makalaya ka. Makikipag-usap ako sa sinumang makikinig sa gobyernong ito, hanggang sa makalaya ka.

Walang saysay ang kahihiyan kung hanggang sa hiya na lang.

Huwag kang mag-alala, Ericson, kung ano pa ang magagawa ko, magsabi ka lang.

Naririto lang kami. Wala sa aming aatras.

Ito lang.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Who is Ericson Acosta?

Kerima Lorena Tariman-Acosta*

article for the TATAK KULE, Philippine Collegian Alumni Homecoming, October 7, 2011

The first time I went to the countryside to integrate with farmers, government troopers tried to show me first-hand how fascism, counter-insurgency and psychological warfare work. As if to make sure I don’t forget, they gave me a minor grenade shrapnel wound, and a major, lingering fear of any man with a golden wristwatch who’d seem to loiter in public places to watch me.

They held me in a military camp, asked me tons of questions before I can even get to a lawyer, and presented me to media in handcuffs. They slapped me with a criminal charge of illegal possession of a high-powered firearm and had me imprisoned.

First to see me in jail was my father, a really anxious Pablo Tariman. Everyone knows he’s never the activist. He could only turn to his Pavarotti records whenever he’s down.

Then from out of nowhere, on my birthday, came Ericson Acosta, a dear friend from the Collegian. He probably spent his own birthday in transit to that strange town just to see me. He looked like he was in such a hurry to get there he even forgot to shave.

After I was released on bail, I found myself in an ABS-CBN studio confronted with the very showbiz question “Is there someone special in your life?” from no-less than Kris Aquino. The query came as a surprise, I might have quickly replied defensively in the negative. After two years, my court case was dismissed. It was also at that time I married Ericson. So in case she’s still interested, I guess Kris should be updated.

Ericson was arrested by the military in San Jorge, Samar on February 13. He was brought to court last September 21—significant date for an activist named after an FQS activist, too ironic for someone born the same year Marcos declared Martial Law. Now I couldn’t drop everything to see him as he did for me more than ten years ago, even if the world expects the wife to do so. Why?

To the AFP, Ericson is a “top personality of the Communist Party.” Once “dissident terrorist,” now “wife of a terrorist cadre” in the eyes of the AFP. That makes the vicinity of his prison cell very dangerous territory for me to tread.

But to people who know him, Ericson has transformed himself from a “troublesome” artist to a serious activist. His artistic and political awakening started early in the theater workshops of the PETA, which he joined since grade school.

He identified himself with artists and their eclectic habits but refused to join political organizations like the LFS, as a self-styled bohemian brimming with intellectual arrogance. As campus writer and editor, his grasp of social, political and aesthetic theory relied mainly on his collection of Marxist literature and books salvaged through missions of the notorious “Main Library Liberation Front.”

The split in the student movement during the ‘90s challenged him to seriously heed the call to learn from the masses. The slogan “The masses are the true heroes and makers of history” sounds passĂ©, but it humbles even the disinterested once they realize its truth.

Ericson gave up his crazy drinking habit for the natural high of activism. He became a prolific poet, songwriter and cultural worker. Years under the obscenely corrupt Arroyo regime led us to choose to return to the countryside to live and learn with the people.

To our son, Ericson is tatay, the funnyman shipcaptain of the AcostaUniverse inter-galactic band. In robo-character, tatay tells him he is actually a Gordoxian child; we his parents need to navigate to and fro the distant Planet Gordox and that’s the reason why we can’t always be with him here on Earth. This sci-fi antic amuses him, but it still sounds stupid even to kids. So he tells us he knows that we just need to ride a bus and walk several kilometers uphill to be transported to another world.

Samar is one such realm, and its people continue to suffer from militarization even after Palparan’s time as general in the region. Now Ericson has gone from documenter of violations to human rights victim himself. It is this tragic irony that has underscored the political context of his case and has given us compelling reason to heighten the call for his immediate release.

Ericson’s fault was to bring a laptop to the barrios, just as it was botanist Leonardo Co’s fault to do research in the forest while the army was conducting “regular patrol.” The story that he could have blown his captors to smithereens with a grenade is like telling our son that his father was kidnapped by alien forces of the Bozanian bourgeoisie.

It is unfortunate that while PNoy promises accountability and justice, the AFP remains untouchable. Jeepney drivers halt operations to protest spikes in gas prices, government calls them “perjuicio.” Students strike for greater state subsidy, government mockingly advices them to focus on their studies. Bewildered families call on the son of Ninoy to release all political prisoners—his government says these prisoners don’t even exist.

I guess like Ditto or Donat, we’d always be associated to this paper as its “imprisoned members” – “’yung mga taga-KulĂȘ na kinulong.” But from the time the PSR** was serialized in the Collegian’s pages, people have come to realize how big a prison cell Philippine society really is.


*Kerima Lorena Tariman, managing editor of the University of the Philippines student paper Philippine Collegian during AY 1999—2000, first served as one of the editors of the culture section under the editorship of Seymour Barros Sanchez.

**PSR - Philippine Society and Revolution by Amado Guerrero (Jose Maria Sison).

Artists to DOJ: free Ericson Acosta now!

Artists led by National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera (right); arts writer Pablo Tariman (partly hidden), TV and stage actor Nanding Josef (center) and Acosta's family tear down symbolic prison bars in a gathering organized by the Concerned Artists of the Philippines at the NCCA.

Oct. 14, 2011 Press Release, Free Ericson Acosta Campaign

Artists led by the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) gathered at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) building in Intramuros today to call for the release of poet and cultural worker Ericson Acosta.

In an event dubbed “Kumustahan mula sa Piitan,” National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, painter Neil Doloricon, TV and stage actor Nanding Josef, screenwriter and actress Bibeth Orteza, film director Joel Lamangan and other supporters from the artist community reiterated their appeal to DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima to review Acosta’s case and to immediately withdraw the fabricated complaint against the detained artist.

Actor and former CCP Vice President Nanding Josef

Says Josef: “I know him (Acosta) personally as a cultural worker. I am humbled by his sacrifices and his commitment to the poor. This new administration is challenged to be different from its predecessors. Free those whose only ‘crime’ is genuinely serving the least served, and jail without delay those who have greedily taken away food on the table of the poor.”

NCCA officials; visual artists Karen Ocampo-Flores and Egai Talusan Fernandez; writers Jun Cruz Reyes and Pablo Tariman; musicians Karl Ramirez, Tony Palis and guitarists from the Quezon City Performing Arts group, and members of the Filipino Freethinkers, Kilometer64 Poetry Collective, Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan, Tudla Multi-media Productions, human rights advocates and other artist groups and individuals were also in attendance.

acclaimed film director and former political detainee Joel Lamangan

Lamangan and Lumbera were also detained during the Marcos dictatorship. Angelina Ipong of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) who was imprisoned by the Arroyo administration for six years gave a brief account of her ordeal and incarceration as documented in "Garden Behind Bars," a collection of Ipong's prison writing.

SELDA Secretary General Angie Ipong

Acosta, who is a poet, thespian, songwriter and former editor of the University of the Philippines’ student publication Philippine Collegian, was arrested by the military while conducting human rights research in Brgy. Bay-ang, San Jorge, Samar, last February 13. He is currently detained at the Calbayog sub-provincial jail.

A review petition was filed by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) September 1 at the DOJ, where National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Executive Director Malou Jacob personally appeared to lend her support to the campaign to free Acosta. The petition states that the evidence against Acosta was planted and cited the military’s admission of human rights violations in the conduct of Acosta’s arrest and detention.

Acosta was brought to court for a scheduled arraignment last September 21 in Calbayog City. His legal counsel led by Atty. Jun Oliva of the (NUPL) moved to defer arraignment and proceedings pending the DOJ’s decision on the review petition.

Acosta is among the country’s political prisoners, numbering 354 as of August 2011. Human rights groups led by KARAPATAN and SELDA appeal to President Aquino to free all political prisoners through a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty declaration.

National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera

National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera leads call to free Ericson Acosta

Concerned Artists of the Philippines, October 14, 2011

On the 8th month of Ericson Acosta's incarceration, a gathering of artists and cultural workers, led by National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) was held today, October 14 at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts lobby, to press for Acosta's immediate release.

"Ericson should be granted freedom immediately so he can continue his work as an artist and as a cultural worker, " said Renan Ortiz, CAP spokesperson.

Acosta is a poet, songwriter, thespian, journalist and cultural worker. He was a former editor of the Philippine Collegian and culture writer of the Manila Times. As an artist and activist, he chose to work with the poor and the oppressed. On February 13, 2011, he was arrested while conducting human rights research. He was accompanied by a barangay official and was carrying only a laptop and some personal belongigs at the time of his arrest. He was detained in a military camp and subjected to 44- hours of interrogation with only two hours of sleep. He was levied with a trumped-up charge of illegal possession of explosive to justify his arrest and continued detention.

Actress Bibeth Orteza read her letter to Ericson Acosta
According to CAP Secretary-General and painter Neil Doloricon: "Even behind bars, Ericson surmounts the prison walls that try to curtail the creative prowess in him. A determined and committed artist, in pursuing one’s dream of a meaningful change in society, will try to survive the challenges in life that get in the way . The prison cell for Ericson has become a virtual studio for his literary and musical undertakings and he even shares his talent to his cellmates and wardens."
"Ang sining ni Ericson Acosta ay matatag na nakatuntong sa lipunan natin at ang liwanag na dulot nito ay dapat lamang suportahan ng pamahalaan na naglalayon unawain ang mga problema ng sambayanan," said Lumbera.

Ericson is among the 360 political prisoners in the country today, 77 of whom, including Ericson were arrested and detained under the new administration.
Cases of illegal detention continue to increase under the younger Aquino's administration. This has been the situation even with the past administration of Corazon Aquino's granting of unconditional amnesty to political prisoners after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, and P-Noy's approval of conditional amnesty to 400 alleged rebel soldiers.

TV actor and CAP board member Nanding Josef expressed: There are two things P-Noy and this present administration can do to improve the Filipino people's trust in them and prove that they're different from all the past national leaders: one, to immediately put behind bars all the shameless, greedy, corrupt, self-serving leaders who committed crimes against the poor by stealing everything that rightfully belongs to people; and two, to free all political prisoners, like Ericson Acosta, whose only crime is to side with the poor, to fight for their rights, to protect them from the abuses of the criminals who pass off as public servants, and to educate them on how to liberate themselves from the long years of deprivation and exploitation by a society that has continuously allowed big time thieves to get away with their crimes, but allows self-sacrificing people's heroes to rot in jail."

"P-Noy and his men and women can choose to be remembered in Philippine history as the just and fearless leaders who put the true criminals in jail, and set the real heroes free. We the people, will wait and see," said Josef.

Painter Egai Fernandez

To show their solidarity with the campaign to free Ericson Acosta and all political prisoners, artists and cultural workers, tore down symbolic iron bars to reveal a huge banner with the calls "Free the Artist! Free Ericson Acosta! Free All Political Prisoners!" Artists affixed their names and signatures on the banner to signify their support.

Doloricon added:
"The Aquino regime should instead imprison those who block fundamental change and those who are fetters in developing a truly nationalist, popular and pro-people culture that signify the interests and aspirations of the Filipino people. (There is ) no doubt that Ericson will soon be free not only because he’s not guilty of any crime committed but also because he does not deserve this kind of treatment from a government which is supposed to protect and nurture the talents among its people."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kumustahan mula sa Piitan

a gathering of artists to free ERICSON ACOSTA

October 14, 2011, 3pm
NCCA building lobby
633 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila

Ericson Acosta is a poet, songwriter, thespian, journalist and cultural worker. He was a former editor of the Philippine Collegian and culture writer of the Manila Times. As an artist and activist, he chose to work with the poor and the oppressed.

Ericson was arrested while conducting human rights research in Brgy. Bay-ang, San Jorge, Samar on February 13, 2011. He was detained in a military camp and subjected to 44- hours of interrogation with only two hours of sleep. His interrogators threatened to kill him. In a statement on Acosta's detention, the Amnesty International said death threats and prolonged sleep deprivation for the purpose of interrogation violate the United Nation's Convention Against Torture, which the Philippine government ratified in 1986. He is currently detained at the Calbayog sub-provincial jail.

Ericson was accompanied by a barangay official and was carrying only a laptop and some personal belongings upon his arrest. He was levied with a trumped-up charge of illegal possession of explosive to justify his arrest and continued detention. His rights continue to be violated each day he spends in prison.

A Petition for Review filed by Acosta's legal counsel, the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) is pending before the Department of Justice (DOJ). His family and supporters urge DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima to act promptly and withdraw the charges against Acosta.

To press for Acosta's immediate release, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines will hold a gathering of artists entitled "Kumustahan mula sa Piitan," on October 14, 2011, 3pm at the lobby of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) building, 633 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila.

For details, please feel free to contact:

Office Number: 02 - 4363683 ; 0908884 1170 (Walkie) ; 09497973556 (Ryan)


Saturday, October 1, 2011

POLDET: Ang Sining Bilang Testimonya ng Pakikibaka*

ni Rommel Rodriguez sa Pinoy

Bumaba ang dalawang unipormadong militar sa lobby ng Vinzons Hall upang utusan ang mga manonood na umakyat na sapagkat magsisimula na ang multi-midyang produksyon hinggil sa mga bilanggong politikal.

Sa pag-akyat, ginamit na eksibit area ang bawat palapag at hagdan ng gusali. Ang simpleng espasyo’y naging lunan ng mga sining biswal na nagtatampok sa usaping politikal na kinasasadlakan ng bansa; extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, demolisyon, militarisasyon at ang tampok ng pagtatanghal: ang kalagayan at panata ng mga bilanggong politikal.

Masungit ang mga militar habang pilit na pinauupo ang mga manonood upang sabihing isang oryentasyon ang dinaluhan ng mga manonood hinggil sa programa ng pamahalaan. Sa huli’y matutukoy na ito na rin ang hudyat ng simula ng palabas.

Kapansin-pansin ang biswal na kulturang iniangkop ng produksyon. Inilangkap ang paggalaw ng mga anino at imahen sa telon sa mga pangyayari sa kasaysayan sa panahon ng pananakop ng imperyalistang Amerikano sa bansa. Naging tuon ang Samar kung saan isinagawa ang masaker sa mga batang 10 taong gulang- pataas ang edad bilang ganti ng Amerika sa matagumpay na pananalakay ng mga taga-Balangiga sa dayuhang hukbo noong 1901.

Ericson Acosta, nagsalaysay ng dula mula sa piitan

Sinaliwan din ng sayaw ang live na musikang nagtatanghal sa mga orihinal na musikang likha ng grupong kinabibilangan ni Ericson Acosta, isang bilanggong politikal na kasalukuyang nakapiit sa Calbayog Provincial Jail sa Samar. Gamit ang teknolohiya, nagawan ng paraan na isang bilanggo ang maging tagapagsalaysay ng dula. Bagaman siya’y nakapiit, hindi naging hadlang ang rehas upang dumaluyong ang kanyang malikhaing isipan. Sa pamamagitan ng sayaw, nagmistulang awit na rin ang bawat galaw upang isalaysay ang kalagayan ng mga bilanggong politikal; ang paghihimagsik ng mga anak ng lupa at ang paghawak ng tabak bilang tanda sa pagbuwis ng buhay ng mga nagtatanggol sa aping uri ng lipunan.

Bonifacio Ilagan

Gamit ang monologo, itinampok din ang mga naging bilanggong politikal, partikular sa panahon ng batas militar. Dito nagsilbing testimonya ang sining upang ilahad nina Judy Taguiwalo at Bonifacio Ilagan ang kanilang naging karanasan sa piitan at kung bakit hanggang sa ngayo’y nagpapatuloy sila sa pakikibaka tungo sa paglaya ng mga bilanggong politikal at ng bayan. Hindi naging epektibo ang piitan upang tumigil sila sa pakikibaka. Sa halip, ito pa ang naging daan upang manatili sila sa paglahok sa pambansa-demokratikong kilusan. Iniluwal ang kanilang sining sa piitang inakalang magpapatahimik ng kanilang rebolusyonaryong adhikain.

Vencer Crisostomo at Axel Pinpin

Maging ang mga sumunod na henerasyon ng mga nakilahok sa mga naunang sigwa’y ipinagpapatuloy ang diwa ng rebolusyonaryong pakikibaka. Walang pag-aatubili ang pananalita ni Vencer Crisostomo hinggil sa pagiging anak, hindi na lamang ng kanyang mga magulang, kundi ng mismong bayang kanya ngayong pinaglilingkuran. Magpapatuloy ang sining bilang daluyan ng testimonya ng mga bilanggong politikal tulad ng naranasan ni Axel Pinpin sa loob ng piitan kung saan ang sumagip sa kanya’y ang mga talinghagang binigkas ng kanyang tugmaang matatabil.

Jess Santiago

Inawit naman ni Jess Santiago na sa Pilipinas lamang nagaganap ang mga kakatwang pagbansag sa mga palayaw na tumuloy sa pagsuri sa bayang hindi naiwawaglit ang alaala ng karahasan at paglaban. Kaugnay nito ang testimonya ng tinaguriang Morong 43; mga manggagawang pangkalusugang pinaratangang miyembro ng New People’s Army na hinuli at tinortyur. Sa saliw ng makapangyarihang tinig ni Aki Merced, matagumpay na nailahad na hindi sila natinag na gamutin, hindi lamang ang mga maysakit sa kanayunan, kundi ang mismong kanser at nagnanaknak na sugat ng bayan.

Natapos ang produksyon na mataas ang moral, hindi lamang ng mga nagtanghal, kundi higit lalo, ng mga manonood. Sa huli, napatunayan na ang artista kapag pinagbabawalan lalong lumalaban, kapag ipinipiit, lalong naghihimagsik. At tulad nga ng sabi ng mga bilanggong politikal, maaaring makulong ang rebolusyonaryo, subalit hindi ang rebolusyon.

pamilya ni Ericson, kasama si Prof. Judy Taguiwalo

*Itinanghal sa UP Vinzon’s Hall, September 30, 2011
direksyon ni Donna Dacuno, direksyon sa musika ni Roselle Pineda at Divine Leano
sama-samang itinanghal ng Alay Sining, Karatula, Sinagbayan at People’s Chorale sa pakikipagtulungan ng NCCA, KARAPATAN at SELDA.


Mga Larawan ni Jo Santos