Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año today said the arrest of four Panday Sining members who were caught defacing an LRT post during Bonifacio Day rites last Saturday was “just and lawful” as he directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) “to go after all vandals for their utter disregard of the law and defacement of government properties.”
“Nagsusumikap ang gobyerno na magkaroon ng kaayusan at kalinisan pero binababoy nila. They have been repeatedly warned and now they will face the consequences of their actions,” said Año.
The DILG Secretary said that instead of heeding the warning of the government when they painted the Lagusnilad overpass last month, Panday Sining members persistently defied the authorities and vandalized a telecom box near the Manila City Hall, the walls of Araullo High School in Manila, and a concrete post of LRT Line 2 on Recto Avenue, among others.
“Imbes na tumigil, tuloy pa rin sila sa pagsasalaula nila sa kapaligiran. Hindi na sila nakikinig sa awtoridad. Sobra na. Tama na. Tama lang na maturuan sila ng leksyon para magtanda,” he said.
Acting on orders from Año, police officers from the Manila Police District nabbed Joven Laura, 18; Jeanne Vaughn Quijano, 24; Mikhail Collado, 18; and another minor who were caught painting on the walls of LRT Line 2 during protest rallies marking Bonifacio Day last November 30.
The DILG Chief lamented the fact that the arrested Panday Sining members are young people who are supposed to be focusing their time studying and making their parents proud.
“Huwag kayong magpaloko sa mga organisasyong makakaliwa at huwag ninyong sirain ang kinabukasan ninyo sa mga walang kuwentang gawain. Magsipagtapos kayo sa pag-aaral ninyo at tumulong kayo sa pamilya at bansa,” he said.
He said that while the government respects their groups’ freedom of expression, such freedom is bounded by rules and regulations in order to ensure law and order.
“Huwag ninyo namang gawing malaking drawing board o canvas ang Metro Manila. Maraming paraan para ipahayag ang inyong saloobin at hindi kasama doon ang walang habas ninyong pagpipinta sa mga pader ng Maynila,” he said.
According to DILG Spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya, it is not only the government who is outraged by the recent vandalism done by Panday Sining members but the general public as evidenced by negative comments on social media as well as an online petition initiated by a Non-Governmental Organization.
The petition uploaded on online petition site change.orgcalls on the Manila City government to pursue legal action against Panday Sining for defacing the walls in Metro Manila. It has so far over 9,000 signatures.
“Even the people are fed up with your antics. Mag-isip-isip na kayo at magbago na habang bata pa kayo. Disiplina muna bago po tayo magreklamo at magprotesta. Ang pagbabago’y nagsisimula sa sarili,” he added.
The DILG has recently launched the #DisiplinaMuna national advocacy campaign that aims to re-build the culture of discipline among Filipinos, especially the youth, as a means of fostering people’s participation which is one of the tenets of good governance.
The campaign aims to increase the consciousness among Filipinos of their critical role and responsibility in sustainable development and maintenance of law and order as a shared responsibility.