Freedom Mov_E Features a ‘Love Letter’ to a Martial Law Prisoner

‘A love letter,’ real life Commander Liway Cecille Oebanda, shared that the movie Liway is her son’s love letter to her— to the sacrifices she made fighting for a better society during the dictatorship under President Marcos.

The independent film Liway was featured in FNF’s Freedom Mov_E mini film festival in commemoration of the 33rd anniversary of the People Power Revolution.

Liway is a true story based on the life of the film’s director, Dakip Oebanda and his family’s experience in prison during the Martial Law years. Dakip, which means caught or arrested, is an apt name for a kid who was born and raised in prison.

The Freedom Mov_e also featured two winners from the FreedomMov_E 2018 super-short film competition, Selda and Panata. Both films presented stories of hope and courage to defend human dignity and freedom.

A talkback to process the message of the film and better nuance it to today’s current events followed.

Mrs Cecille Oebanda, DAKILA Outreach Director, Nini Onate, Spoken word artist, Alfonso Manalastas, CHR’s Division Chief for Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Office, Marc Siapno; Actor, Kenken Nuyad, who played young Kip in the film; Kaya Natin’s Bianca Lacaba; and Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission (MemCom)’s Patricia Raymundo comprised the panel for the talkback session.


Art as a powerful educational tool

History was center of the discussion for the talkback. Liway as well as Selda, a super-short film entry for Freedom Mov_E 2018, talked about stories of a controversial part of history in the Philippines: Martial Law.

“33 years since a dictator was ousted from power, the issue was more divisive than ever. Students — youth who were not born yet during the Martial Law years — seemed apathetic to the movement which brought about Philippine democracy,” Oebanda said.

All the members of the panel expressed concern about the rampant disinformation especially in the social media.

“There’s a need for us to go beyond the books. History is not just something you read in the newspaper or whatnot but it’s also the story of ordinary people,” Ms. Patty Raymundo said during the talkback session.

Raymundo explained that movies, spoken word poems, memorials— all of which use story-telling to convey the importance of history and people’s role in making sure that history does not repeat itself. She said that these media are important to ensure that the values from the past will be recognised by the current generation in order to not experience such level of human rights abuses.



Freedom is a shared responsibility

 “We should never choose silence because silence would lead to more oppression,” Marc Siapno of the Commission on Human Rights told the audience.

That’s the challenge to all the youth out there— to all of us.— to realise that human rights is not the responsibility of a chosen few. We all bear the responsibility to uphold human rights,” he added.

Organizations like CHR, DAKILA, Kaya Natin advocate for the preservation of human rights, rule of law and democracy, but have faced acerbic reception online. Despite the backlash, these organisations still continue to promote these values which are under attack.

In this interesting time in the Philippines, FNF PH Country Director declared that organisations like FNF will continue to help Filipinos to promote democracy and to safeguard freedoms and rights.

He said: “We hope that projects like FreedomMov_E that focus on human rights and freedom, would spark renewed appreciation for these values. As we look back in history—both in the Philippines and in Germany, we remember and say  NEVER AGAIN to authoritarian leaders who do not respect people’s  rights and freedoms.”


Youth’s vote will change PH history

With the national and local elections nearing, Oebanda emphasized that the time for the youth to shape a country’s course has come.

According to the Commission on Elections, majority of the voting population for this year’s midterm elections are millennials and Gen Z which, when combined, forms more than 50% of the voting population for the midterm elections.

“The next generation will judge you on what you decide. Your time is only now, millennials. If you choose to be involved, you can be the most powerful… that’s why they [the crooks] are afraid of you,” Mrs. Cecille Oebanda said as she stressed the power of the youth in nation-building.


This Freedom Mov_E was coorganized by FNF Philippines and the Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership on 28 February at the Gateway Cineplex in Quezon City.

FNF is a German non-profit institution that seeks to provide innovative solutions to translate complex concepts of freedom into language that is relatable to Filipinos. By utilizing digitally innovative tools in its programs and activities, it aims to trigger discussions and initiate actions, thus promoting citizen engagement and empowerment in all sectors of society.

Kaya Natin is a non-profit and non-government organization that promotes good governance and ethical leadership in the Philippines. GenWe - short for Generation WE - is the coming together of the rebel spirits of the generations X, Y, Z. From the titos and titas, to the millennials, everyone is invited to celebrate human rights and freedom

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