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Adam! sent me a document a few days ago, outlining a proposed law against obscenity here in the Philippines. I read the document with great interest, and with much horror when I realized what it proposes. I think a lot of people, not only artists, need to be concerned with this bill because while it battles obscenity in all its forms, it also seriously curtails many of our legitimate freedoms.

You can download a copy of it here:
http://www.senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=14&q=SBN-2464

Please read the bill linked there. It\’s all right, it\’s a short one.

I could quote select passages from it, but I\’ll end up quoting ALL of it, because all of it is quite disturbing. I do want to point out this bit:

“Regardless of the motive of the author thereof.”

As an artist, this is a bill that gravely concerns me because it has the potential to seriously curtail not only my freedoms as an artist, but my the ability to make my own choices as a mature, intelligent and moral human being.

The initial reaction would be to react with fury and indignation, as a younger me might have done. I already see a fair bit of it online. But I\’m concerned that people would only see the anger, and not the point we want to make. I believe the way to react realistically to this would be to work within the system for us to be heard and seriously considered.

To those who might know, what are the legal means by which a bill like this can be opposed? This is not yet LAW, so there is still enough opportunity to do something about it.

Who are the Congressmen and Senators we need to get in touch with that could oppose this bill on our behalf? Senator Chiz Escudero?

Times like this I\’m kicking myself for not being fully aware about how this all works. The Senate, Congress, the entire law making process. I\’ll be making inquiries shortly after posting this.

For now, all I could think to do was write Senator Manny Villar, the author of this bill, an email. I honestly don\’t know if he will be able to read it, or an intern there reads it and throws it away, but I felt I just had to do something. This is not the exact email I sent him, as I\’ve expounded a bit more here because other things came into my mind after sending it.

If you want to email Senator Villar yourself, please do so here. Now remember, people are more open to opposition and opposing views if they are articulately, intelligently, and calmly stated. It would not help our cause to bite his head off and call him names, although that\’s exactly what my first impulse was.

**********************

Dear Sir,

This comes from a concerned citizen of the Philippines, namely, myself. Let me begin by saying that I do not condone pornography in any way, nor do I condone obscenity. I have very conservative religious views. I am in a legal and faithful bond with my wife, who I love very much, and I frown upon seeing publications like Playboy, Playhouse, FHM and similar sort of reading material in plain view of children in the malls.

I do sincerely believe that there is a need for a law like this to moderate such things.

However, I am also an artist, and I have grave concerns as to what it means to me and my work. As an artist, I believe that the nude body is not an object of obscenity, but an object of beauty. If and when I do a piece of art with nudity, be it a photograph, a drawing, or a painting, I don\’t do it with any prurient intentions or intend to arouse the same in other people. I do it to celebrate an honest to goodness beautiful creation of God. For where else does our bodies come from but from God?

I believe there is a place for such appreciation in society in mature and intelligent adults, and I do believe such things be kept from children who are not old enough to appreciate such things. I am concerned that the choice to appreciate such material is being made for me, as if I am an immature child who cannot think for himself.

I do understand that there is concern that the proliferation of such material causes a decay in our morals.  But look at me. I\’m faithful to my wife. I don\’t indulge in any depraved sexual activity. I abhor corruption, and I always strive to do what I believe to be right, even if it means I lose money, friends or position. I\’m a very moral man, and seeing nude images of women has never affected me in any detrimental way.

For instance, there\’s me, and there\’s another guy named Jeff. We both browse a copy of the same issue of Playboy. Afterwards, I go back to work. Jeff on the other hand, rapes a girl. Does that mean Jeff raped a girl because he read Playboy? If so, why didn\’t I? It only means that there is a fundamental flaw in the character of Jeff, a fundamental flaw the origins of which are much deeper than we think.

The problem is much much deeper. A law like this is like a finger in a bleeding dike, a band aid solution to a problem that\’s much bigger than many people realize. This problem is the root of not only the decay of morals, but of corruption, poverty, and many other problems in our society.

I\’m talking about education.

I\’m not talking about schools. I\’m talking about the proper upbringing of children by their parents. There is so much emphasis and pressure from society and family for husband and wife to have children, regardless of whether they are responsible enough, or capable enough to support and teach them. In the end, we have a lot of children who are not properly housed, fed, and educated, by parents who had been raised the same way.

THIS is the root of most of our problems.

Couples should, first and foremost, seriously consider if they really want children, if it\’s a choice that they are making, and not a decision that\’s being forced on them by family, friends and society. Second, they should consider if they have the means to raise them, and raise them well. Because quite frankly, a lot of people are having children who shouldn\’t.

If children are not properly educated, they grow up stupid and immoral. They turn to crime, to indecency, to corruption, and they turn to these things easily because they were never given that much needed structure and moral compass by people who should have: Their Parents.

I must take a moment now to thank my parents because they have raised me into the man I am now. They raised me well and I\’m eternally grateful for that.

I remember a campaign poster of yours where you champion children. This is great! This is the point! And this is something that ought to be emphasized now, more than ever.

Thanks for your time.

Gerry Alanguilan
San Pablo City

Comments

53 Responses to “The Anti-Obscenity Bill: What Does It Mean for Artists?”

  1. R.Galford on September 20th, 2008 5:46 pm

    Isa lang masasabi ko dito:
    UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!

    AN ACT PROHIBITING AND PENALIZING THE PRODUCTION, PRINTING, PUBLICATION, IMPORTATION, SALE, DISTRIBUTION AND EXHIBITION OF OBSCENE AND PORNOGRAPHIC MATERIALS AND THE EXHIBITION OF LIVE SEXUAL ACTS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE ARTICLE 201 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE, AS AMENDED

    Hello?! Ano yung Exhibition of Obscene na pinagsasabi dito? Overbroad. Walang ending, kaya pag ang artist nag-discuss na about eroticism, nudity, pornography kahit academic readings and materials, yari na sa bill na ito. At baka si Oblation damitan na rin, obscene e…^^;

  2. I Oppoose the Anti-Obscenity Bill (Senate Bill 2464) : Komikero Comics Journal on October 26th, 2008 7:07 pm

    […] here for my previous post: The Anti Obscenity Bill: What Does It Mean for Artists? […]

  3. Ivy on November 21st, 2008 3:23 pm

    This bill was transmitted to the senate from the house of representatives, where it was HB 3305. Its principal author was Cong. Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora, with over 60 co-authors.

    http://www.congress.gov.ph/bis/hist_show.php?save=0&journal=1&switch=0&bill_no=HB03305