WATCH: Manila government paints over protest slogans at underpass
Rosette Adel ( - November 12, 2019 - 6:24pm

MANILA, Philippines—The city government of Manila on Tuesday repainted Lagusnilad underpass near the city hall after activists painted protest slogans there.

The Department of Engineering and Public Works led the repainting of the portions of the Manila underpass.

It was marked by protest slogans such as “Presyo, Ibaba! Sahod, Itaas!” and “US-China Layas!”

The Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs Bureau said it was saddened by the supposed vandalism by Panday Sining, the cultural arm of activist youth group Anakbayan.

"There's been a struggle to organize and bring back the beauty and vitality of Manila. Vandalism is not the answer to change. Discipline and understanding are — for a more prosperous Manila," Angel Carlo of the MTCAB was quoted as saying.

Panday Sining said what the city government calls vandalism is protest art.

In a lengthy Facebook post, the group said the protest slogan was driven by the daily crisis.

“Inaaraw-araw tayo ng krisis. Ito ang gumigising sa atin upang kumayod para sa pangkabuhayan hanggang mamulat sa walang habas na pananampal ng krisis na ito, lalo na sa mga sentrong pwersa nito,” Panday Sining said.

(We are facing crisis daily. This is what wakes us up to work for our livelihood and be open to the harsh reality of this crisis, especially with in center forces like this)

“Ginigising tayo ng krisis, pinipilit tayo ng sirkunstansya. May krisis sa kuryente, tubig, bigas, ulam, pamasahe, pambaon, matrikula, utang, tokhang, bomba, artillery strikes – na arawang kinahaharap natin uma-umaga sa mga kabahayan,” he added.

(We are awakened by criris, forces by circumstances. There is a crisis in electricity, water, rice, food, transportation, allowance, tuition fee, debt, tokhang, bombs, artillery strikes- that we face every morning in our homes)

The group is calling on other artists to join the series of "Graffiesta" through transformation of streets where they could lead other art protests.

Despite this, the Manila government took to social media to remind the public against vandalizing in public and private party in nation’s capital.

It said that the Manila City government's Anti-Vandalism ordinance is still in effect. The city’s Ordinance No. 7971 prohibits any person from defacing public and private property.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso slammed Panday Sining for the supposed vandalism.

"Kapag nahuli ko kayo, ipadidila ko sa inyo ito," Moreno said.

(If I caught you, I would wipe that off with your tongue)

"Ang ganda ganda na eh. Ang linis na. It took 15 years for that underpass to be attended. Nobody attended to that underpass. Kayo ang nambababoy eh. Hindi makatwiran 'yan. We don't deserve this. The people of Manila don't deserve this," he added.

(It's already beautiful. It's now clean. It took 15 years for that underpass to be attended. Nobody attended to that underpass. You're the one who made a mess. That's not reasonable. We don't deserve this. The people of Manila don't deserve this)

In July, Moreno conducted clearing operations in Lagusnilad underpass.

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