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By Jose Maria Sison

After watching the film Aswang at the Tuschinsdki theatre in Amsterdam on November 27, I congratulated the film maker Alyx Arumpac for having created an excellent film in terms of thematic development, a gripping and heart-rending style, overall artistry and technical crafting.

The killer aswang in Philippine legend comes to life through the Duterte regime which engages in the mass murder of poor suspected drug users and pushers in the squalid slums of Manila in a bogus war on illegal drugs which actually protects the drug lords. The film captures the brutality of the Duterte regime, the pain and suffering of the surviving relatives of the victims and the climate of terror generated.

The truthful and passionate narrative is bound mainly by the honest and dedicated witnessing by Brother Ciriaco Santiago, the testimony of the funeral parlor operator Eusebio and the engaging personal story of Jomari as a child victim of the sham war on drugs. As unfolded in the film, the actions and words of Santiago, Eusebio and Jomari concretize and give life to the film and raise it to a level beyond mere reportage.

The film is a powerful indictment of the tyrannical Duterte regime. It sums up the mass murder of more than 30,000 people, a figure most recently reported by human rights organizations. It collects the facts and witnesses that can serve the prosecution of Duterte and his death squads. It proves that art can reflect the grim realities in order to arouse the conscience of the people to struggle for a better society.

It can inspire the Filipino people to take effective actions against the Duterte regime as well as the people of the world to extend their solidarity and support to the struggle for democracy and defense of human rights in the Philippines. ###

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