MANILA — A newly formed national group of screenwriters on Monday denounced the Duterte administration-backed anti-terror law and the government closure of ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ largest broadcast network, as it sought to “reclaim our voice.”
In a statement, the Filipino Screenwriters Guild (FSG) said its members “came together during this pandemic to represent the professional, political, creative needs and concerns of industry practitioners and to ultimately become the collective voice of screenwriters across the nation.”
“Today, we reclaim our voice,” it added. “And today we lend it to those who need to be heard.”
The group said it rejects the anti-terror law because it “seeks to curtail the very core of all writers, our freedom of speech.”
The law has been widely criticized for its alleged vague provisions on identifying terrorists, and is feared that it could be weaponized against legitimate dissent.
“We refuse to be blind accomplices to and enablers of propaganda,” the FSG said.
“As creators, we can see through the false narratives of opportunists, how favor can be slanted to those in power, how truths can be diffused and diminished and distorted.”
The FSG went on to condemn what it described as the “brutal shutdown” of ABS-CBN, after Duterte allies in Congress voted to kill its franchise application, resulting in the retrenchment of thousands of employees.
“We sympathize with our colleagues left jobless by this pandemic, their voices falling on the deaf ears of the agency tasked to protect the interests of the industry and its people,” the group said.
“We stand along with the thousands silenced all these years by those who seek to attack, weaken and break our fragile democracy. We will not allow injustice to render us helpless.”
Using the hashtag #MayBosesAko, the FSG concluded: “Today, we reclaim our voice. And today, we begin a new story: of unity, resistance, and change. The new story of Filipinos.”