Dukot NEW JERSEY Screening
SPONSORED BY THE FILIPINO ASSOCIATION OF STEVENS INSTITUTE
Nearly banned by the Philippine government, "Dukot" has been dubbed by critics as a "bold", "daring" and "courageous" film that touches on a very sensitive and timely issue--politically-motivated kidnappings, torture and assassinations being perpetuated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Directed by award-winning director Joel C. Lamangan and written by former political prisoner Boni P. Ilagan, "Dukot" is an independent, low-budget film destined to be on the mainstream cinema. Based on real-life events, the film tells a story of two young activists, Junix (Allen Dizon) and Maricel (Iza Calzado) who fell in love with each other. As they try to sort out and balance the difficulties of their academic lives and family relationships, they are kidnapped by elements of Philippine military due to their involvement with student organizations critical of the Philippine government. Under the hands of the military, Junix and Maricel are both violently interrogated and tortured. It also follows the agony and ordeal of their parents (Gina Alajar, Robert Arevalo) with the assistance of a human rights advocate (Snooky Serna) and the media as they embark on a desperate and frustrating search for their whereabouts, seeking justice, following clues and getting caught in the complex web of the Philippine justice system.
"Dukot" is an important and relevant film that exposes the current Philippine human rights situation. In 2007, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial Killings Philip Alston conducted a visit to the Philippines and released a disturbing report that documented a systemic pattern of human rights abuses in the country. International human rights monitoring bodies such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also released statements of concern over the situation in the Philippines.
International pressure from churches, civil society groups, and Filipino-Americans compelled the US Senate to hold a public hearing with a human rights delegation from the Philippines. The historic 2007 US Senate hearing examined the link between the US government's military aid allocations to the Philippines for training and advising of the AFP and the escalation of human rights abuses in the country. This led to the first-time decision to tie a portion of the 2008 US military package to the Philippines to human rights conditions outlined by Alston himself.
The 2009 follow-up report from the US Department of State pointed to the failure of the Philippine government and AFP to stop politically-motivated killings, disappearances, as well as illegal detentions and torture.
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