Open Letter to the NCCA Regarding the Incident of Sexual Assault at INWW
(IMPORTANT UPDATE: NCCA is holding a meeting today. We will try our best to continually update you of the progress. Thank you for your support.)

Over the past few days, a series of social media posts relating to an incident of sexual assault at a recent writers’ workshop between an older male keynote speaker/panelist and a female fellow have made the rounds online. According to the survivor’s testimony, which she posted as a note on her Facebook on Monday, August 5, 2019, the incident in question occurred on the evening of May 31st, 2019, the final and culminating night of the 26th Iligan National Writers Workshop (INWW), at a room of the workshop participants’ accommodations: the university hostel of Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT).

The details can be read in their heartbreaking entirety on the survivor’s note, which is set to public and has already been shared multiple times. What is particularly striking, sadly, is the treatment she received from the workshop director and the Mindanao Creative Writers Group (MCWG), Inc., the organizing board. In her testimony, the survivor made it clear that she “called and wrote” said workshop director about the incident and had even consulted a lawyer, who sent a letter addressed to the latter attached with affidavits of the survivors’ witnesses. All this was done in the hopes that the workshop director would at least “acknowledge what had happened,” “condemn what the [keynote speaker/panelist] had done to [the survivor],” and subsequently blacklist him so as to prevent him from perpetrating a similar act in the future.

Unfortunately, the workshop director replied with a dismissal of the survivor’s request, reducing the incident to an “issue” between the survivor and the keynote speaker because, to quote the workshop director in the survivor’s testimony: “it was done behind closed doors and nobody heard anyone screaming, being dragged down the stairs, or trashing about.” As if the director's narrow definition of rape wasn’t enough, she added that blacklisting the keynote speaker was “impossible” because the survivor’s request was “already beyond the mandate of both its implementing organizations.” In an “official statement” the workshop director posted on her Facebook page also on August 5th, she pointed out that the incident occurred “several hours after the workshop officially closed,” thereby implying that she and the MCWG were absolved of responsibility. This same statement, which was originally viewable by the public, has since either been deleted or had its privacy settings altered and can thus no longer be viewed by certain Facebook users.

We therefore understand that the survivor, after being shunned by the immediate authorities, was left with no other recourse but to turn to the online community. Equally apparent is the workshop director’s and the MCWG’s failure to handle the case in a manner expected of them. Instead of providing the survivor with the necessary support, assurance, the slightest “feminist solidarity,” or at the very least an apology, she appears to be more concerned with protecting the reputation of the keynote speaker and the workshop, as evidenced by the content of her official statement. The director’s apathy is even manifest in her naming the survivor (and misspelling her name to boot) while withholding the identity of the keynote speaker.

We, the undersigned, therefore, express our solidarity with the survivor of the incident and admire her bravery in coming forward. To ensure that justice is served and that incidents of this nature do not happen again, we urge the following measures:

That the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), having funded INWW through the years, conduct a thorough and independent inquiry into the matter, together with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR, given its mandate to look into human rights violations by state agents and duty-bearers in government agencies), the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW, because it is mandated to protect women and their human rights), and MSU-IIT (as it is the institutional sponsor of the workshop and the incident took place within the university premises).

That the Ombudsman investigate the unjust and improper handling of the survivor’s complaint by the workshop organizers, who are also professors of a state university.

That the results of these investigations provide input or feed into a review of policies vis-à-vis grantees of NCCA’s programs to ensure that every workshop, training, or any other project will be a safe space for everyone, especially the women, indigenous peoples, the youth, PWDs, the aged, members of the LGBTQ community, and all other vulnerable sectors, without worry of being discriminated against, harassed, or caused emotional or physical harm.

That the government, through the educational institution, extend psychosocial support services to the survivor as a person at-risk, as provided for in the Philippine Mental Health Policy Act.

That the MCWG acknowledge that the workshop director's dismissive reply implied that there is no truth to the survivor's narrative, for she claimed that INWW “does not condone rape or any form of sexual harassment,” that it “abhors such acts, and would actively cooperate in securing justice for any of its writing fellows who may have been victimized,” and yet her actions (or inaction) spoke otherwise. Based on her official statement, where she dismisses the incident as “a private matter between two consenting adults,” it appears she has judged the survivor and already rendered her guilty, even if it is only the courts of law that have the authority and competence to determine whether there was rape or not. She has therefore excused herself from accountability as the workshop director, and she also excused herself from holding the keynote speaker responsible.

That the NCCA foster a climate of open critique and discussion by discouraging the workshop institution and/or officials from filing legal charges against sympathizers of the aggrieved for speaking out in view of her interest. Legal maneuvers that seek to penalize expressions of support for any survivor of sexual assault, especially coming from a position of power or institutional prestige, comes with a chilling effect: It equally suppresses such support as much as any articulation of experience and desire for justice by the aggrieved.

As things stand, we are sorely disappointed by the response of the workshop director and MCWG. This is not what we expected from institutions and individuals who receive financial support in the form of public funds. Any further inaction, then, is tantamount to complicity not just by those of us expressing concern but also to the good Filipino taxpayers.

Mark Angeles - Caloocan City
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Emiliana Kampilan - Mandaluyong
Hara Mae Macanas- Tacloban City
Krizzia Mei Esperanza, Naga City
John Leir Castro - Naga City
Daryl Jabil - Cebu City
Arby Medina - Manila
Grace Jaucian - Naga City
Trevor Viloria - Metro Manila
Ann Rei Conte - Marikina City
Charles Tuvilla - Dallas, Texas
Nigel Santos-Bulacan
Daryll Delgado, Quezon City
Julie Agato-Quezon City
Polynne Dira- Quezon City
Carlo Paulo Pacolor - Quezon City
Ma. Jhayle Meer
Freidreich Layno - Quezon City/ Davao City
Rex Menard Cervales - Roxas City, Capiz
April-Joy Eufracio-Salvosa, Naga City Cam. Sur
Vincent Royce Navera - Quezon City
Sam Del Castillo - Caloocan City
Raniela Barbaza Quezon City
Bernalyn Sastrillo - Rodriguez, Rizal
Nikki Luna - London, UK
Evelyn B. Lumando - Talisay City
Angela Bernice Cabildo - Cagayan de Oro City
Ram Hernandez, Quezon City
Wynclef Enerio - Taguig
Jennie Arado - Koronadal/Davao City
Cha Caras - Quezon City
Evie Macapugay - Bulacan
Jose Alfonso Sacdalan - Dasmariñas, Cavite
Sophia Lee, New York
Julius Villanueva - Quezon city
Jeckree Mission - Metro Manila / Batangas
Cattleya Soriano
Czarina Lanes - Davao
Bagane Fiola, Davao City
Alvin I. Dacanay, Pasig City
Deborah Nieto - Mandaluyong City
Olivia Nieto - Pasig City
Kritika Tripathi - India
Chai Fonacier
Mark Fortaleza - Quezon City
Gino Dolorzo
Carlos Piocos III - Pasay City
Gary C. Devilles, Filipino Dept - Ateneo
Mark Lester Menor Valle - Bontoc, Mountain Province
Wilfredo Pascual, San Francisco, CA
Arielle Abrigo - Antipolo City
Adrienne Yvette Fria - Pasig
KC Daniel Inventor - Negros Occidental/ Malabon
Julie Jolo - Marikina
Nelia G. Balgoa, MSU-IIT, Iligan City
Joanalyn Gabales, Cebu City
Mark P. Bonabon, Biri, Northern Samar
Jazmine Brusola - Quezon City
R. Javier A. Bengzon - Mandaluyong
Jocelyn Pinzon - Lapu-lapu City
Sandra Nicole Roldan - Quezon City
Paul de Guzman, Quezon City
Renz Rosario - Quezon City
Anjeline de Dios - Hong Kong
Ian Harvey Claros - Marikina City
Mimi Johnson
Kristine Camille Sulit - Angono, Rizal
Philline Donggay, Cagayan de Oro
Matthew Jacob Ramos - Cebu City, Cebu
Ma. Antonette Lofamia - Ehime, Japan
Laya Boquiren - NCR/Olongapo/Baguio
Taftique, Inc. - Manila
Nikki Mae Recto, Valenzuela City
Ryn Acosta - Quezon City
Shaniqua Lizardo - Pasig City
Twyla Rubin - Quezon City
Mary Grace H. Gonzales, Dasmariñas Cavite
Abner Dormiendo - Antipolo City
Kelly Ramos- Baguio/Cagayan de Oro
Karlo Mikhail Mongaya - Quezon City
Septrin Calamba - Iligan City
Cha Lino - Manila
John Glenn Sunga
Aika Sarmiento - Pasig City
Joyce Ann Mallare - Baguio City
Selina Maunahan - Pasay City
Taftique, Inc. - Manila
Mary Deane Camua, Bulacan
Alden Santiago - Bulacan
Marnon Abundiente - Cebu City
Celestina Arvisu - Baguio City
Mayra Feliz David - Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Rona Marie Cortez - Pampanga
Danielle V. Florendo - Baguio City
Maui Mangawang - Mandaluyong City
Sacha W. Jasmin, Baguio City
Grace Orbon - Pasig City
Lakan Uhay Dorado Alegre - Tacloban City, Leyte
Candy Alipio, La Trinidad Benguet
Julianne Marie Leybag - Silang, Cavite
Naomi Rebuelta - Makati City
Michael Rey Orlino - Muntinlupa City
Marius Carlos, Jr. Pampanga
Chesca Persia - Quezon City
Kim Pasion - Quezon City
Chryss Mae Segovia - Makati City
Joel Barredo - Bangkok, Thailand
Jessa Olmedillo- Cebu City
Yvux A. Apawan - Talibon, Bohol
Patricia Cendana - San Juan City
John Paul Marasigan - Taguig
Marielle Fatima B. Tuazon - Quezon City
Joanne D. Felonia - Quezon City
Leonille Christie Lavador - Cebu City
Ram Paulo Anayan - Quezon City (in solidarity)
Hezron Pios – Bacolod City
Brenda Dacpano - Baguio City
Belle Sunga - Davao City
Danico Deriada - Tanza, Cavite
Mark Sanchez-Quezon City
Roemina Deocareza - Quezon City
David Ong -- Pasig City
John Reigner Ramos - Bulacan
Desiree Caluza-Baguio/Alberta, Canada
Mikey Jimenez - Quezon City
Desiree Caluza-Baguio City/Alberta, Canada
Celia M. Austria, U.P. Baguio
Aileen Familara, Mauritius
Carlou B. Espedillon - Alabel, Sarangani Province
Danilo Arao, Quezon City
Jen Obenza - Davao City
Gisela Marcelang - Makati City
Brigette Gabrielle Oserraos, Iloilo City/Catarman, Northern Samar
Erika M. Carreon - Manila/Australia
Aleck E. Maramag - Baguio / Metro Manila
Jose Tanierla -Quezon City
Catherine Quesada - Cainta, Rizal
Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon, Pasig City
Nikki Malabad - Baguio City
Rae Rival - Laguna
Wilmor Pacay III - Makati City
Alexandra May Cardoso - Catbalogan/Quezon City
Rosmon M. Tuazon - Pasig City
Akiko Jane Cortel - Davao City
Jamie Therese Gundaya - Davao City
Starlene Portillo - Bacolod City
Genevieve Inumerable - Quezon City
Prime Sarmiento - MANILA/HONG KONG
Jeconiah Dreisbach - General Santos City/Manila
Bianca Mendoza, Mandaluyong City
Dominic Zinampan - Makati City
Jecia Opiana, Davao City
Elizabeth Joy Quijano- Davao del Sur
Luchie Maranan - Baguio City
Carmela Lapeña - Makati City
Jehu Laniog - Nabua, Camarines Sur
Coma Ben — Los Baños, Laguna
Jade Snow, Bacolod
Zyra Oliman - Santa Rosa, Laguna; Others in solidarity
Alyssa Danielle Navarro - Malolos, Bulacan
Mo Francisco
Alice Sarmiento - Quezon City
Ferdinand Sarabia - Cotabato City
Jeanette Patindol - Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
Earl Lagunsad - Quezon City
Vera Mae Padilla Ferrer-Cabataña
Karla Andrea Ipong - North Cotabato
Carmen Luz - Las Piñas City
Marvin Joseph E. Ang - Caloocan City
Keith Bustamante - Makati City
Jolo Urquico, Quezon City
Tere Padillo - Makati City
Faye Cura - Makati City
Jusan V. Misolas - Naga City
Jose Kervin Cesar B. Calabias - Quezon City/Baguio City
Fiona Villamor - Manila / Cebu
Lou Cortejos - Metro Manila
Angela Felicia - Makati City
Cleofe Cortejos - CDO
Mia Sumulong - Antipolo City
Francheska Cortejos - Cagayan de Oro
Ivannee E. Bongosia- Baguio City
Raph G. Doval-Santos - Quezon City
Ivannee E. Bongosia - Baguio City / Quezon City
Beau Marie P. Tinio - Tagbilaran, Bohol
Mary Mara Atienza - Alaminos, Laguna
Paul Amiel Salonga - Mandaluyong City
Alexandria M. Mordeno - Malaybalay City
Ivy Bernadette C. Nobleza - Baguio City
Leonard Francis Alcoran - Antique/Iloilo
Margarita Sanchez, Manila
Frank Cimatu - Baguio City
Arry Asiddao - Quezon City
Abel D. Soto
Adrian de Larrazabal - Quezon City
Sarah Cortejos - Metro Manila
Fara Manuel - Baguio/ Manila
Terence Repelente - Navotas City
Tanya Lopez - Bacolod
Paolo Jose Cruz - Pasig City
Maria Ana Fajardo - San Pedro, Laguna
Raphael Coronel - Manila
Cerisse Madlangbayan - Dasmariñas City
Anna Liza M. Gaspar, Piddig, Ilocos Norte
Diosa Quinones - Makati City; signing in solidarity
Nickky de Guzman - Manila
Harvey James G. Castillo, Quezon City
Jada San Andres - Pampanga
Arvee D. Lao - Lucena City
Daniw Santiago - Quezon City, Metro Manila
Ina Alleco Silverio
Mikaela Regis - Cainta, Rizal
Micah Raphael Andres - Quezon City
Gita Labrador, Quezon City
Willa P. Maglalang - Metro Manila
Liana Barcia - Hamburg, Germany
Alyana Bacarra- Cavite
AB Coronel - Malate, Manila
Charmaine Lasar - Batangas
Jessica Faye O. Marino - Baguio City
Aya De La Cruz - Quezon City
Neil Cirilo - Nueva Ecija
Marga D, Taguig City
Emil Pandy - Quezon City
MRR Arcega - Bulacan
Ruby Grace C. Galvez - San Fernando, La Union
Edwin Darryl Dy - Mandaluyong City
Noel Pascual - Marikina City
Vanessa T. Haro, Gumaca, Quezon
Chang Casal - Mandaluyong City
Mai Dealino - Quezon City
Raymond A. Ybañez - Cagayan de Oro
Nick Gomez Poblacion
Pamela Mendoza - Los Baños, Laguna
Anj Heruela, Mandaluyong City
L.A. Piluden - Baguio City
Bluleab T. Albao, Makati City
Jeremiah Ciarra Flores - Caloocan City
Blulean T. Albao, Makati City
Baryon Tensor Posadas, Minneapolis, MN
Gem Vecino - Angono, Rizal
Alma Sinumlag - Baguio City
Abet Umil, Muntinlupa City
Charles Tan - Mandaluyong
Rosemarie Urquico - Baguio City
Ma. Jocedel Zulita - General Santos City
Jonah Bongcayao - Quezon City
Elizabeth Ruth Deyro - Laguna
Kishra Dawabi - Belfast, Northern Ireland
Reyna Tabbada - QC
Cherrie Ann Balictar - Quezon City
Jay Lahoy - Quezon City
Lisa Ito, Quezon City
Monique Bracques R. Mandia - Quezon City
Gab Madrid - Quezon City
Regina de Castro - Cavite
Angelina Manio - Cavite
Marjorie Evasco- Mandaluyong/ Tagbilaran City, Bohol
Karren Renz Seña - Quezon City
Joanna Parungao - Pasig
Paulo Benedicto Villar, Pateros, singing in solidarity
Tintin Ongpin-Montes - Quezon City
Hazel de Castro - Cavite
Marjay Manalastas - Bulacan
Mitch Anadia - Marikina City (Writer in Solidarity)
Chubibo Mondejar - Quezon City, signing in solidarity.
Ferdinand L. Eusebio - Los Baños, Laguna
Mia Magdalena Longid, Baguio City
Carlos Quijon, Jr., Quezon City
Marianne Nono - Parañaque City
Eleonor B Maranan - Quezon City
J. Marcelo Borromeo - Cebu City
Cristina Morales, Quezon City
Rai Salvador - Isabela
Johann Vladimir Espiritu - San Pedro Laguna
Cha Castaño - Antipolo City
Patricia Camille Villa, Manila
Angela Velasco, Manila City
Zosimo Quibilan, Jr. - Los Angeles, California
Mia Marci - Mandaluyong City
Steffi Chua - QC
Brenda Gimotea Depasupil - Negros Occidental/Metro Manila
Jeriel Faune - Valenzuela City
Baguio Writers Group - Baguio City
Reina Olivar
Kora Dandan Albano - Baguio
Erick Dasig Aguilar - Quezon City
Allan Cariño - Baguio City
Patrick Reyes - Quezon City
Cian Dayrit - Rizal
Shei Faulmino
Nerissa Balce - Quezon City
Dr. Rose Sabijon Rara - Tagbilaran City/Loboc, Bohol
China De Vera - Davao City
Jose Mojica- Manila
Paul Castillo - Marikina City
Christian Jil Benitez - Rizal
Susan Lara
Chlarine Gianan - Cavite
Ned Y. Tuguinay - Baguio City
Haya Pag-asa Q. Santiago-Florendo - Pasig City
Ceej Tantengco - Quezon City
Andrea Jacinto - Taguig
Ian Lomongo - Angono, Rizal
Emmanuel T. Barrameda - Virac, Catanduanes
Joshua Uyheng - Quezon City
Weng Cahiles - Quezon City
Mae Yalong - Manila
Kat Regalado - Antipolo City
Rocel Junio - Quezon City
Stephan Pablo, Makati
Veronica Florendo - Antipolo City
Toni Dimaano - Lipa City, Batangas
Nadine L. Sarreal Quezon City
Melrein Viado - Cagayan de Oro City
Gillian Mapa - Quezon City
Paula Castillo - Quezon City
Joshua Tabernilla - Quezon City
Oey Mirabueno - Quezon City / General Santos City
Liza Constantino - Mandaluyong City
Katrina Uy - Cebu City/Bohol
Ronaldo S. Vivo, Jr. - Pateros, Ungaz Press
Ang Sabi Nila - Makati City
Carla Nicoyco - Quezon City/Bacolod City
Megan Diño, Marikina City
Josephine Obien - Quezon City
Redi Mendoza - Quezon City
Felinda Bagas - Metro Manila
Natalie Ann Unson - Manila
Maria Carmela Bernad - Misamis Occidental
Kyla Pangan - Apalit, Pampanga
Jimmy A Domingo, Quezon City
Kyla Pangan - Apalit, Pampanga
Aki Merced - QC
Rose Rara, Loboc & Tagbilaran City, Bohol
Mirjam Dalire - Dumaguete City
Lea Marie Diño, Quezon City
Kate Montero - Quezon City
Heidi Emily Eusebio-Abad - QC
Rexie Quizon - Quezon City
Kim Leones- Pasig
Helena Baraquel - Quezon City
Christian Ely F. Poot - General Samtos City
Dorothy Parungao - Quezon City
Jannele Jimenez - Bacolod
Nicasio Andres Reed - Quezon City
W Don Flores - Dumaguete City
Carl Joseph L. Mercado - Obando, Bulacan
Roi Yves H. Villadiego - Santa Rosa, Laguna
Denice Vias, Caloocan City
Eunice Bautista - Dasmarinas Cavite
Jay Rosas - Davao City
Bomen Guillermo - Quezon City
Petra Magno - QC/NYC
Dowee Untivero - Manila
MC Galang - California
Winston C. Gallo - Iloilo
Edgar O. Taghoy - Cebu
Charisse V. Mercado - City of Malolos, Bulacan
Elaissa Bautista - Batangas
Catherine Regina Borlaza, Quezon City
Elma P. Bautista -Isabela
Yvonne Vigilla - Metro Manila
Eli Rueda Guieb III - Baliuag, Bulacan
Cherine Rhegine Abrigo - Pampanga/Makati
Carlo Garcia - ADMU, Katipunan, Quezon City
Lorena Rose Balina - Manila
Rosanna Montemayor - Quezon City
Trisha Joy Cortes - San Juan City
Joy Dalman - Iligan City
Betty Uy-Regala - City of Pasig
Camilo M Villanueva, Jr. - Pasay City
Lorena Dela Cruz - Quezon City
Anissa Arcega - Quezon City
Gian Lao - Pasig City
Bituin Rustia - Region 1.
Claire Javier - Cainta, Rizal
Amanda Jean Dalugdug - Pasig City
Malou Alorro - Cebu City
Karen Frondozo - Antipolo City
Maricris Madara - Marikina City
Mark Nailes Coronel - Las Vegas
Mons Sta. Cruz - Malolos/Quezon City
Jose Miguel Arguelles - Zamboanga City
Sam Domingo - Pasig City
Mailan Falculan - Manila
John Thomas Trinidad - Manila
Sette Sigua - Laguna
Skilty Labastilla - Quezon City
Marya Vidal - Las Piñas City
Johnina Martha Marfa Marañon - New Zealand
Katrina Madarang - Taguig City
Jesh Alberto - Quezon City
Alaska Ordoña - Davao
Jen Garcia
Terence Krishna Lopez - Quezon City
Edwin A. Quinsayas - Quezon City
Sakura Magtanggol - General Santos City
Joshua Ezekiel C. Sales - Quezon City
Mary Christine Sacay - Taguig City
Nica Castillo, Manila
Ajine Ponce - Quezon City
Ronalyn Olea - Quezon City
Eliza Victoria
Dzeli Del Mundo - Manila
Jen Garcia- Tacloban City
Aljo Lumen - Salawag Dasmariñas, Cavite
Charmaine Carrillo - Cagayan de Oro City
Ma. Cristina Ponce - Quezon City
Clara J. Tagasa - Antipolo City
Danilova Molintas - Baguio City
Leann Padilla - Bacoor, Cavite
Mariel Montero Pabroa - Talisay, Cebu
Reago P. Fedelin - Dasma City, Cavite
Cookie Bacalla - Cavite
Mary Concepcion Lonzano - Metro Manila
Cindy Carvajal - Seattle, Washington
Erika Antuerfia - Marikina
Hannah Tamayo - Pampanga
Rona Co - Manila
Maria Vilma Estrellado - Quezon City
June Karla Lee - Quezon City
Paul Grant - Montréal, Canada
Jade-Ceres Violet Dolor Munoz - Auckland, New Zealand
Thea Marie C. Nedtran - Cavite
Dianne Bencito - Makati City
Bridgette Diaz - Quezon City
Jenna Bien Dolovino - Mandaluyong City
Leon Mapangpuksa - Dasmarinas
Jefferson Chua - Makati City
Jeremy Tintiangko - Manila
Jennie Elloran - Cebu
Eizel Hilario - Quezon City
Geraldine C. Maayo - Quezon City
Feliz Perez - Baguio City
Janina Denise H. Torralba - Meycauayan, Bulacan
Edbert Darwin Casten - Caloocan
Roy Mark A. Corrales - Quezon City
Lorenz Michelle Pineda - Pulilan, Bulacan
Melannie Joy Lando - Quezon City
Chie Ortiz - Los Baños, Laguna
Br. Ritche T. Salgado, O.Carm. - Quezon City
Maolyn Ramirez - Las Piñas City
Ginoe, Visual Artist - Silay City
Marz Aglipay - Quezon City
Jairus Montilla - Tacloban City
Korina Muella - Sipocot, Camarines Sur
Menchie Flores - Quezon City
Ayame Kinkuchi - Makati
AM Ragragio - Davao City/Quezon City
KJ Nicolasora - Paranaque City
A Despi - Rizal
Trisha D. Torres - Tacloban City
Jaime A. Pantaleta - Basilan State College
Ian S. Embradura - Iligan City/Ozamis City
Karen Quinones Axatlan, World Pulse Ambassador

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