Artists, activists condemn killings in the Philippines

‘Dukot’ screening

A film producer joined hands with activists in Sydney to call for more government action and heightened public awareness on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

From left: Dukot Producer Dennis Evangelista, Ruben Amores, Dukot Film’s lead actor Allen Dizon, and Dr. Cen Amores. Photo by Marilie Eftekharhashtroudi.

They urged the Aquino administration to end extra-judicial killings and solve the rising number of cases of ‘desaparecidos’ – victims of unexplained disappearances and summary execution of political activists believed to be perpetrated by the military or police.

The call was made at the screening of the feature film ‘Dukot’ (Abduction) at the auditorium of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) last month.

The controversial movie is based on accounts on political activists abducted and summarily executed.  It was awarded ‘2010 Film of the Year’ in the Philippines.

“By doing this kind of social advocacy films, we are passing a message to the young people.  It is for the youth to be involved, to read newspapers, to organise, to increase awareness about the social situation in the Philippines,” said ‘Dukot’ producer Dennis Evangelista.

“During President Aquino’s term, there’s 114 extra-judicial killings, approximately 400 disappearances, around 7,120 dislocations. The Ampatuan Killings still has no justice, but justice shall prevail,” Evangelista said.

The film showing was held under the auspices of the Philippines-Australia Cultural Interaction (PACIN) and the ATD Productions and Entertainment.

“We are doing a support campaign for the children of the disappeared activists with the help of the Australian for Peace and Development in the Philippines (APDP),” said Mario Royeca of Migrante Australia and current vice president of the Communications Electrical Plumbing Union (CEPU).

‘Dukot’ lead actor Allen Dizon was also in Sydney to attend the screening.

“Being an actor, it’s an awakening for me. Actually in the past, I used to take the issue for granted and now I realised its social relevance,” Dizon said.

Dukot was written by Bonificio Ilagan and directed by noted filmmaker Joel Lamangan

‘Dukot’ is the first of five human rights feature films produced by Evangelista.

The second is “Deadline: The Reign of Impunity” 2011 on (Media Killings) which was shown in Europe but has no regular run in the Philippines.

The others include “Sigwa” which focuses on the First Quarter Storm era; “Patikol” and “Migrante” which deals with the Filipino diaspora.

Since 2001 when Gloria Macapagal Arroyo became president, over a thousand cases have been recorded by the human rights organisation Karapatan. No less than the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in the Philippines issued a rejoinder to the Philippine government.

Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, who also visited the Philippines filed a report indicting the present government for the “culture of impunity” reigning in the country.

The film takes off from the abduction of Junix who is listed in the so-called Order of Battle of the military, actually a death list. A student leader, he left school to devote his full time to organising peasants and the indigenous community in the hills until he disappeared.

Dukot’s cast include Iza Calzado, Allen Dizon, Robert Arevalo, Gina Alajar,

Snooky Serna; Tony Mabesa, Emilio Garcia, Felix Roco, Jim Pebangco, Raquel Villavicencio, Mon Confiado, Rico Barrera, John Apacible, Menggie Cobarrubias, and Richard Arellano;  Brian Arda, Davidson Olivares, Mercy Udaundo, and Armaine Pagcu.

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