KWF memo banning ‘subversive’ books rescinded

The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) has rescinded the memo banning 'subversive' books. (Photo: Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino/Facebook)
The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) has rescinded the memo banning 'subversive' books. (Photo: Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino/Facebook)

The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) has officially rescinded its earlier memorandum banning the production, publication, and distribution of books it tagged as subversive, a move welcomed by ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro in a statement.

KWF Resolution 27 series of 2022 effectively voided the Aug. 9 memorandum banning the following titles: “Teatro Pulitikal Dos” by Malou Jacob; “Kalatas: Mga Kuwentong Bayan at Kuwentong Buhay” by Rommel B. Rodriguez; “Tawid-Diwa sa Pananagisag ni Bienvenido Lumbera: Ang Bayan, ang Manunulat, at ang Magasing Sagisag sa Imahinatibong Yugto ng Batas Militar 1975-1979” by Dexter B. Cayanes; “May Hadlang ang Umaga” by Don Pagusara; and “Labas: Mga Palabas sa Labas ng Sentro” by Reuel Molina Aguila.

The resolution said that, in the interest of freedom of speech and expression, the country’s language commission shouldn’t be a censorship body, as it is not its mandate to determine whether or not a book or a publication is subversive.

[B]unsod ng marubdob na paggalang sa karapatan at kalayaan sa pamamahayag at pagpapahayag, nararapat maunawaan na ang Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino ay hindi umiiral bilang lawas-sensura (censorship body),” the resolution reads.

(With so much respect for freedom of speech and expression, KWF must recognize that it shouldn’t exist as a censorship body.)

KWF Commissioners Alain Russ Dimzon, Hope S. Yu, and Angela Lorenzana withdrew their signature on the earlier memo banning the five titles. With Commissioners Carmelita Abdurahman and Benjamin Mendillo the only ones left as signatories to the memorandum, the said memorandum is now void, according to Pangasinan Rep. Christopher de Venecia during the House deliberations on the KWF’s 2023 budget.

“We welcome KWF Resolution 27 series of 2022 which stated the withdrawal of signatures by some KWF commissioners from their earlier orders that condemned the publication and distribution of so-called ‘subversive’ books, red-tagging the authors and their works which lead to the half of pending publication of some of the author’s works,” Castro said in a statement on Sunday (September 25).

“This would not have been done if not for the clamor of the people and strong condemnation of the people against attacks on academic freedom, freedom of the press, and free speech,” Castro added.

In light of the resolution, Castro said that the language commission should immediately publish the books.

Sa paglabas ng bagong resolusyon na [nagpapawalang-bisa sa] mga naunang mga kapasyahan ng Komisyon, dapat na rin na agad maimprenta ang mga librong naantala ang publikasyon dahil sa mga inilabas na memorandum ng Komisyon para agad na ipamahagi ang mga librong ito sa mga paaralan, mga aklatan, at sa publiko,” Castro said.

(With the release of the new resolution voiding KWF’s earlier resolution, the books' printing and publication should immediately resume so that they can be distributed to schools, libraries, and the general public.)

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.

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