‘Respect human rights’: CCP Thirteen Artists Awardees decry anti-terror law

Several awardees from 1970 to 2018 convey their 'collective disagreement and outrage' over the anti-terror law

MANILA, Philippines – The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Thirteen Artists Awardees issued a public statement on Saturday, July 4, signed by national artists united against the anti-terror law.


Several awardees from 1970 to 2018 have conveyed their “collective disagreement and outrage” over the anti-terror law, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, July 3.

“As concerned artists and citizens, it is our role to safeguard cultural values which embody our Constitutional Rights to liberty, democracy, and freedom of expression. The anti-terror law is an attack against these rights and values,” they wrote.

The group considered the urgent signing amid the COVID-19 pandemic an “insult,” and cited the rights and freedoms enshrined in Article 3, Section 4 of the Philippine Constitution of 1987, calling the new law “unconstitutional” and “prone to abuse.” (READ: Duterte signs ‘dangerous’ anti-terror bill into law)

“We do not need a law designed to suppress democratic forms of redress and due process,” they added.

They deemed essential people’s rights to freedom of speech, expression, assembly, association, truth, and transparency of where are our taxes are going. 

“We need to channel state funds, efforts, and resources to eliminate the virus, not dissent. Unemployment, corruption, and lack of access to aid must be addressed first.”

“Dissent in the face of a crisis is a right. Dissent is essential if democracy is to thrive and if the Filipino people are to survive,” the group wrote.

They ended their statement by calling for the junking of the anti-terror law, to respect human rights, defend the freedom of expression, and to prioritize health and economic aid to the people.


The remaining pages of the statement list down all the undersigned recipients, including 1970 National Artist for the Visual Arts Benedict Cabrera, also known as BenCab. 

The Thirteen Artists Awards is a triennial event founded by the CCP in 1970 to recognize exemplary artists in the field of contemporary visual art. 

Local celebrities also took to the internet shortly after the bill was signed into law, denouncing it, in fear that it could be weaponized against anyone who opposed the administration. – Rappler.com