They just can’t get it.
Saying what its members are expressing is a form of protest art, militant group Panday Sining is nevertheless completely off the mark.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso summed it best when he said he understands what the group is trying to express but to mess up the newly-painted walls of the Lagusnilad with graffiti is downright condemnable. It’s to many people vandalism, no more, no less.
“They could have used other forms of platform like social media to express their grievances,” Moreno pointed out, “but to mess up something funded by the people’s money is unforgivable. They are answerable to the people of Manila.”
Although it has already apologized for its act, the activist group wouldn’t budge. It continues to claim that what its members did was not a form of vandalism but an art of expressing their sentiments against the government for allegedly suppressing their freedom.
They argued that last year, they launched a program called “graffiesta.” which encourages the public to express their sentiments through writing in public spaces just like what they did in the Lagusnilad Underpass.
The question now is whether he graffiti that they painted is a valid form of protest art or it is simply vandalism.
The group, while apologizing, justifies their act as a form of righteous resistance against what they termed as the wanton violation of human rights under the Duterte administration.
What the group however misses is the fact that art used in the context of resistance will always face the risk of retribution from authorities. It will remain the target of censorship.
Panday Sining believes the mayor shares the same goal of lasting peace in the city, thus they are asking for an audience with him, which Moreno deliberately turned down.
“What for? To waste my time instead of attending to more important matters that the people need?” Moreno was quoted to have said.
We could understand where the good mayor is coming from. He has invested a lot of effort, time and money in resurrecting the city from the clutches of syndicates manipulating vendors’ groups, cleared the streets and sidewalks of obstructions and cleaned up every nook and cranny to make Manila livable again.
The Lagusnilad, which has become an eyesore under past administrations despite it just being adjacent to City Hall, has been turned into a well-lit, newly-painted passageway for pedestrians.
Nowhere are the filth, the vendors dominating space and shenanigans lurking to victimize passersby, mostly students studying in nearby universities.
Moreno expressed anger over the group’s waste of public funds because the local government needed to repaint the walls with the money allotted for medicine and the city’s housing project for the poor.
He is determined to file charges against anyone who will follow what the militant group did in vandalizing the walls of Manila.
Which, to us, is but right. There is no place for vandals in a city of man, Manila or otherwise.
Art? Tell that to the Marines. It’s nothing but plain vandalism.