One of books purged by KWF was Palanca winner, says author

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 13 2022 09:40 AM

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MANILA — The author of one of the books included in the purge order by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) for allegedly containing "subversive" and "anti-government" messaging said Friday his work had won a Palanca award.

"Tatlong dula ito ... na nasulat ko more than 10 years ago. Naipalabas at umani ng papuri, nanalo sa Palanca," said Reuel Aguila, author of "Labas: Mga Palabas sa Labas ng Sentro."

(These are 3 plays, which I wrote more than 10 years ago and received an award from Palanca.)

The Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature is regarded as the highest literary award-giving body in the Philippines.

KWF cited "inciting to commit terrorism" found in Article 9 of the Anti-Terrorism Act as grounds to cease the distribution of certain titles.

"Right now, we are stopping the books with subversive texts. We will see, moving forward, the instructions of director general of the commission," KWF commissioner Benjamin Mendillo said.

While Aguila said the burden to prove his works are subversive lies on the accusers, he said that anti-government messaging can't be found in the texts.

"'Yung isa satire on noontime show. Asan diyan ang subversion? Pangalawa, tungkol ito sa isang preso na bumalik sa kanilang, tapos na 'yung term niya, pagbalik niya sa bahay niya, sa community, mas magulo pala ito kaysa sa preso. Nasaan diyan ang subversion?" Aguila told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo

"Sa pangatlo tungkol ito sa photographers, so nagko-cover sila from Martial Law to GMA, nasaan diyan ang anti-Duterte, nasaan diyan ang anti-BBM?"

(One the plays is a satire of a noontime show. Where's the subversion in that? Second, this is about a newly freed inmate who then discovered that the community outside is more chaotic than the jails. Where's the subversion there? Third is about photographers who covered the Martial Law up to the administration of GMA. Where's the anti-Duterte, anti-BBM messaging?)

Given this, Aguila suspects that authorities haven't read his work.

"Kaya nag-suspect ako di nila nabasa. What they did was naghanap sila ng salita, ng lines, ng phrases, tapos ishinoot nila ito sa kanilang paniniwala na ito ay subversive," he said.

(What they did was they looked for words, lines, and phrases that qualified to their beliefs as subversive.)

ABS-CBN News is seeking comments from the KWF.

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