by Yna de Leon
“When I said I’ll stop criminality, I’ll stop criminality. If I have to kill you, I’ll kill you.” – Pres. Rodrigo Duterte
Some Filipinos have had enough. In 52 minutes, 17 artists told the stories and teased out the cultural impact of the government’s infamous, so-called drug war through a concept album. “KOLATERAL is a 12-track album featuring various Filipino artists, where each track is backed by real data and narratives on the Philippine Drug War. It is the product of two years’ worth of research and artistic collaboration. The data that informs the songs have been gathered from media reports and key informant interviews from communities at the front lines of the Drug War,” Sandata described on a Facebook post.
The artist collective Sandata is founded by playwright and screenwriter Mixkaela Villalon, rappers BLKD (balakid) and Calix, and development workers Abbey Pangilinan, Tanya Quijano, and Ica Fernandez. In 2016, the group decided to collaborate and utilize each other’s expertise to educate people about the drug war in a more creative way. Sandata interviewed the victims’ families, collected factual research, then retold these data into a politically-charged album.
Kolateral starts with Calix and BLKD’s “Makinarya”, announcing the overall theme of the record. The track talks about the machinations of the drug war, from Pres. Duterte’s orders to “shoot them dead,” the police’s role in the clearing operations, the lack of due process, and the powerlessness of the Tokhang target.
“Distansya” by Muro Ami is based on OFW Luzviminda Siapo and her son Raymart’s story. Luzviminda left the country two years ago to work in Kuwait, and entrusted her two kids to their uncle. On March 29, 2017, Raymart was abducted and killed after a neighbor accused him of marijuana peddling. Luzviminda had to beg and kiss her employer’s feet just so she could fly home to him. “Distansya” is told in the form of a phone call where a mother checks on her child, while also lamenting the irony of the administration’s constant lauding of our overseas workers, but disregarding their clamor for human rights protection. Calix and Tatz Maven further tackle this method of accusation through “Giyera Na Bulag.” The track exposes Oplan Tokhang through the eyes of the individuals who were put in the killing list for the sake of hitting the police’s nightly quota. Another track retells the story of lovers Jerico and Angel who were gunned down on the street, their deaths highlighting the hypocrisy of Tokhang and its class-based application.
Aside from the project album, Sandata discusses the drug war in various universities and progressive spaces and collaborates with music collectives from different genres around Metro Manila to hold fundraisers for the campaign’s victims. Sadly, some people who these artists have written stories for have already gone into hiding, especially those who witnessed their loved one’s killing. Many of them suffer from trauma and have received no help from the government. Those who are struggling to get by get their help from individuals, NGOs, and groups like Sandata. To date, Sandata offers assistance to 22 families, including the education of 64 children.
Kolateral is available digitally on:
Soundcloud – http://bit.ly/KolateralSOUNDCLOUD
Bandcamp – http://bit.ly/KolateralBANDCAMP
Apple Music – https://music.apple.com/ph/album/kolateral/1470682367
Mediafire – http://bit.ly/KolateralMEDIAFIRE
Google Drive – http://bit.ly/KolateralGDRIVE
Dropbox – http://bit.ly/KolateralDROPBOX2