MANILA — Artists and peasant advocates staged a protest rally in front of the Department of Agriculture office in Quezon City on Saturday to support farmers’ call for genuine land reform.
According to Nicolai Maverick, member of Artista ng Rebolusyong Pangkultura (ARPAK), artists should use their craft in supporting the plight of farmers and their plea for food security, and junking what they regard as neoliberal policies like the Rice Liberalization Law.
They urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to address food price hikes, lamenting that basic commodities such as onion, sugar, and salt are too costly for the masses.
Marcos currently sits as Agriculture Secretary.
Last month, he reportedly ordered the DA to find out why egg prices had surged despite sufficient supply, and said the government will maintain a 2-month buffer stock of sugar to prevent another shortage of the commodity.
He also said the government was forced to import onions due to the insufficient local supply and high demand.
Saturday's protest action also served as the launch for the ARPAK’s art caravan “Mula Tarangkahan Tungong Sakahan”, a moving exhibit that aims to bring art and artists out of intellectual enclaves onto the streets in line with the celebration of Arts Month 2023.
“Kami po ay mga artists na naniniwala na ang mga artist ay hindi lang dapat tumitigil sa pagkilos ng kanilang mga craft. Kundi ang mga artist ay dapat lumabas sa kani-kanilang espasyo at mga safe spaces at sumabak sa batayang sektor tulad ng magsasaka,” Maverick said.
Their artworks will be available for viewing at Stall 09, Cubao Expo on Feb. 12-18, 2023.
FROM THE ARCHIVE