Resolutions of the 54th Congress of the Philippine Center of the International PEN
(Dec. 1-2, 2011, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City)
We, the members of the Philippine Center of the International PEN, gathered for our 54th Congress, hereby resolve the following:
· Restate our resolution passed during our 52nd Congress condemning in the strongest terms the massacre on November 23, 2009 in Maguindanao, Mindanao of more than 60 civilians, many of them journalists and writers, who were apparent victims of political violence in connection with the May 10, 2010 national and local elections. We urge the Executive and the Judiciary to carry out a swift and effective trial of those accused of the killings. Delay in the dispensation of justice would endanger the lives of witnesses and worsen the injustice suffered by the victims and their kin. Moreover, justice delayed would, reiterating our 2009 Resolution, abet “the culture of violence and impunity that has been engendered by government’s rapprochement with warlords and their armies in Mindanao and elsewhere,” very evident in the state’s historic “lackluster efforts to investigate killings of and violence against journalists and other victims of human rights abuses.”
· Join and support the call for the release of writer and political prisoner Ericson Acosta. We urge the Philippine government to abide by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Since the Philippine PEN is a member of the Writers in Prison Committee International PEN, it resolves as well to call for the release of all prisoners monitored by the International PEN.
· Urge the Cultural Center of the Philippines to continue funding and supporting the publication of Ani, the CCP literature journal.
· Work more closely with the education sector, its leaders, planners and administrators, its teachers and students, and the education publishing industry, to improve literature education in the country. The Philippine PEN recognizes that literary taste is shaped in the schools, especially the public school system; it is where generations must be taught to appreciate the outstanding works of our very own writers, works that constitute the soul of our nation. Therefore, the Philippine PEN, with some assistance from the International PEN in London and the Swedish International Development Agency, resolves to conduct seminars and workshops around the country to improve literature teaching in the schools. Furthermore, it will strive to work for a comprehensive listing of quality translations of literary works in the different Philippine languages and make the inventory available to Associations of Textbook Publishers.
· Join and support the call for measures to bring down greenhouse gas emissions in order to stem climate change and its disastrous effects on the biosphere. Taking the challenge made by writer Rony V. Diaz in his keynote address of our 2011 Congress, we are specifically monitoring the developments of the summit of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change taking place in Durban, South Africa up to December 9, 2011. We expect it to come up with specific recommendations to address climate change that we will urge governments, especially of industrialized nations with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, to adopt and implement. “Statements of support and endorsement of specific recommendations of the IPCC,” said Rony V. Diaz, “will be a powerful voice from the poets, essayists, novelists, playwrights and editors of the world.” The 2011 Philippine PEN Congress concurs with the declaration of our comrade-in-the-pen. Since the issues revolving around the issue are technical and geopolitical, beyond the immediate comprehension of laymen and non-politicians, we, as writers and artists, have the artistry and the obligation to make them immediate and compelling. Therefore, we vow to use the powers of the pen and the energy of the imagination to exalt nature and humanity, painting their interconnectedness and evoking their mutual integrity. Through our verses, stories, reports and reflections, we will portray the disastrous consequences of severing the symbiosis that should exist between ecology and mankind. Writers often pit man against nature: Nature is depicted as impersonal and ruthless, man is represented as puny and defenseless. But it is more obvious from the destruction of the environment and the worsening effects of climate change that nature is the victim and man who is the victimizer. Through our writings, therefore, we will serve stern warning to humanity to change their way or else face annihilation. Through our discursive and creative writings, we will invoke the need for the restoration of the proper equation that should obtain between man and nature and of the need for them to complement one another. In this case, we will not only produce a literature of survival, which is the theme of our 2011 Congress, but also a literature of communion.
Passed during the closing ceremonies of the 54th Congress of the Philippine Center of the International PEN, December 1-2, 2011, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City, Metro Manila, the Philippines.