Artists group opposes New Clark dev’t thru street art


MANILA — While everyone was expressing opposition to contractualization, or just sitting right in the middle of Recto Avenue doing open discussions, a certain group made a different participation in the Labor Day rally.

Some members of the Kaisahan ng mga Artista at Manunulat na Ayaw sa Development at Aggression (KAMANDAG), put up a graffiti on the highway bearing the statement “Defend the Aeta” — an expression of support for the indigenous community in Central Luzon.

In an interview with Philippine News Agency, Stum Casia, one of the organization’s convenors, said the artwork, which was made out of colored chalks, has something to do with the situation of the Aeta workers who are called for the development of the New Clark City in Capas, which the group strongly opposes.

“Yung ginagawa naming artwork ay bilang pagsuporta doon sa ating mga kapatid na katutubo (The artwork that we are doing is to support our native friends),” Casia said.

“Ang ginagawa kasi ng mga nagtataguyod ng New Clark City, kinukuhang mga trabahador yung mga Aeta, pero sila ay subject din sa kontraktwalisasyon, mababang pasahod, at walang kasiguruhan sa kanilang trabaho — panandalian lang. Yung trabahong yun ay hindi sapat kumpara doon sa kanilang kabuhayan sa kabundukan. (What the promoters of the New Clark City do is that they hire Aeta people as workers, but they are also subject to contractualization, low salary, and the lack of job security, just for a short time. That work is not enough compared to their livelihood at the mountains),” Casia added.

KAMANDAG, according to Casia, is an alliance of artists, writers, and filmmakers who document the latest developments and behind-the-scene stories in the indigenous people communities not just in Central Luzon but also in Mindanao on behalf of them as they are braving the infrastructure projects that are happening in their respective areas.

The group goes to Tarlac and even in some parts of Zambales on a monthly basis to check on the Aetas and other indigenous people’s groups.

He said their advocacy is not limited to just mere participation in rallies.

“May mga regular kaming events at performances (We have regular events and performances),” Casia said. “Ang ginagawa namin sa mgaperformances namin, ikinukwento namin ang mga katutubo–mga isyu na hindi madalas naririnig ng mga Filipino (What we do in our performances is that we tell the stories of our indigenous people–issues that Filipinos do not usually hear).”