I am a Filipino. I am a writer. Our tools are vigilance and memory

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    I am a Filipino. I am a writer. Our tools are vigilance and memory. A growing number of writers and journalists gathered their thoughts together for a united statement. And sharing here is the English only version, although it has a Tagalog translation.


    I am a Filipino writer.

    I am one among journalists, fictionists, poets, essayists, bloggers, screenwriters, graphic storytellers, copywriters, playwrights, editors… Citizens, all—in a perilous place to wield a pen.

    I stand for unfettered expression—to discuss, dispute, debate, dissent. For democracy is respectful disagreement—change persuaded, never imposed. And freedom cannot be dictated, for the right to speech empowers all others: to worship, and participate in society, to cry against injustice, and call for what is just. Speaking responsibly is my responsibility—but expression remains unconditional, essential to equality and universal liberty: To each citizen, a free vote; to every citizen, a free voice.

    All of us, citizens, live in a world where the powerful thrive on secrecy and the privileged seek our poverty. Ours is a time when righteousness and faith are weaponized into fear and savagery, and life is dispensable to opinion and ideology. All of us, Filipinos, live in a country where facts are spun as black propaganda, and dynasties stage a masquerade of choice, and leaders prosper on our weakness and disunity. Ours is a society broken by those who benefit from its breaking.

    I refuse to let that be the story of our people.

    To our Filipino sisters and brothers—at home and around the world: I pledge my pen. My task is to listen, to give voices when you’ve none, and render us with all the humanity I can muster and the dignity you deserve. As a writer I work, and witness, inform, and incite. I shall concede my stance when proven wrong, aspire to constant civility, and safeguard our history from those who reap from its rewriting. This I vow. To this I will see.

    To those who mislead for fake faith, profit, or political gain—the false prophets, corporations, and agents of disinformation: my enemy is your iniquity, rapacity, manipulation; my methods are clarity, creativity, careful investigation. I know, as you do, that your power sits solely in the pliancy of us people—and I refuse to sit idly as you crave our control. I shall match your inhumanity with plain and simple decency. This I vow. To this I will see.

    To our leaders abusing power—elected or otherwise: I am watching, taking notes, recording for all time. I will mock you who’ve made a mockery of our democracy; yours will not be bronze statues in plazas, or elegies on brass plaques—for my words will outlive your influence, in a world that will know the ills you committed and the ugliness that you were. In life you’ve stolen from our country and our people, and in your death I will steal the respect you never earned and the dignity you never deserved. Try to censor me and I will find a way—to immortalize your infamy, defame your legacy, tell your children’s children with accuracy of what you did and precisely all you failed to do. Your punishment will stretch through the pages of perpetuity. This I vow. To this I will see.

    For all histories have shown: Elections pass, systems crumble, but stories remain. Assassinate one of us—but another speaks louder. Pass laws to make us criminals—but our writing blooms beyond their reach. For history has proven: Jose Rizal is always remembered, Marlene Esperat never forgotten. Your weapons may be violence and money, but our tools are vigilance and memory.

    For I am a Filipino. I am a writer.

    This I vow, and this you will see: I shall not be silent. I cannot be silenced. I am not alone—our writing remembers, our laughter reminds. The truth of you the world will know. And it starts right here, with me.

    Originally posted here at http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/783439/elections-pass-but-stories-remain-writers-issue-manifesto.

    Join the list of signatories thru Miguel Syjuco at miguel.syjuco@gmail.com.

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