Solon welcomes KWF’s reversal of ban on ‘subversive’ books

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 25) — ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro has welcomed the release of a Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) resolution revoking its earlier order to pull out and stop the publication of alleged subversive books.

Castro earlier urged the KWF, a body tasked with promoting and developing the Filipino language, to immediately release the resolution after three out of five commissioners retracted their signatures from previous orders, during the plenary debates on the commission’s budget.

“We welcome KWF Resolution [27-9] 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 halt of pending publication of some of the authors’ works,” Castro said in a statement on Sunday.

“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,” she added.

The lawmaker also urged the immediate publication of books deemed containing “explicit anti-Marcos and anti-Duterte contents” by the agency and their release to schools, libraries, and the public.

Literary works identified in KWF’s Memorandum 2022-0663 were “Teatro Pulitikal Dos” by Malou Jacob, “Kalatas: Mga Kuwentong Bayan at Kuwentong Buhay” by Rommel 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 Cayanes, “May Hadlang ang Umaga” by Don Pagusara, and “Labas: Mga Palabas sa Labas ng Sentro” by Reuel Aguila.

In Resolution 27 dated Sept. 21, it said commissioners Alain Russ Dimzon, Hope Yu, and Angela Lorenzana withdrew their signatures last Aug. 15 from Resolution 17-8, or the statement condemning KWF chair Arthur Casanova for his alleged illegal acts of "endorsement, publication, and proliferation of subversive books."

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It also noted that the signing of Resolution 17-8 was considered an error as it is beyond the mandate of the KWF, thus it was deemed void from the very start.

The KWF said the withdrawal of the commissioners’ signatures was out of deep respect for the rights and freedom of expression and did not mean approval of subversive contents in any material endorsed, published, proliferated, or distributed by the agency.

Commissioners Benjamin Mendillo Jr., Carmelita Abdurahman, and Jimmy Fong abstained in the amendment.