By Paulina Corpuz
Philippine Advocacy Through Arts and Culture (PATAC), based in Toronto, Ontario, is an organization of volunteer Filipino artists and concerned citizens who envision a future where each person’s right is respected and upheld.
PATAC’s mission is encapsulated in the PEACE PACT. It means to Promote, Educate, and Affect Change by Engaging People to Act as a Community for Transformation through various arts media. Art is a potent instrument in reaching out and inspiring people to act and change their life and their world.
PATAC strives to promote the Philippines, its people, culture and struggles through music, photography, spoken word, print and other artistic media. The name PATAC was chosen, an anglicized spelling of the Filipino word patak because it reflects the basic Filipino principle of coming together as a community with each individual contributing within their means, to create something bigger than ourselves, a modern version of bayanihan, a true Filipino trait.
PATAC’s arts and culture work presents the Philippine history and reality in creative multimedia forms such as song, dance, visual art, photography, spoken word and the like. PATAC’s work is best reflected in the following projects:
- Touch a Life and Help a Soul campaign presented through a photo exhibit and music, focused on migrants’ experiences, peace, human rights and hopes of a future that is not marred with injustice and violence.
- The annual September event, An Evening of Peace and Music, is similar to the Remembrance Day. PATAC strives to keep people aware and to not forget what happened in the Martial Law years in the Philippines. We must always be vigilant in upholding the rights of the Filipino people and ensuring that greed and power do not prevail in the Philippine society.
- Her name is Grecil campaign raised funds for a fact-finding mission on the issue of the military strategy that accused children killed in the crossfire of being child soldiers.
- Mine, Mine, Mine was a concert and photo exhibit that focused on the effects on mining in the Philippines by Canadian-based companies.
- Literary contests engage young people of Filipino descent in identifying and articulating the challenges they face as visible youth minority in relation to their immigration, settlement and development as young Filipino Canadians; get their insight on how to best deal with these issues; consolidate their perspective and anecdotal experiences and compile it into a literary work; enhance their writing skills; and promote the youth of Filipino-descent as literary artists.
“PATAC is able to creatively use art and music to question the taken-for-granted norms that hide injustice and human rights violations. By thickly describing, story-telling and taking into account multiple voices, PATAC is able to use music in order to build a ‘common experience.’ PATAC mobilizes people around their music and they are able to engage others to understand the larger issues that are affecting Filipinos and Filipino-Canadians.”Jay Castillo, in “Every Drop Counts: Social Movements and Music—An analysis of PATAC: Philippine Advocacy Through Arts and Culture”
PATAC will continue to do its work to tell the real Filipino story through various arts and cultural media, reach out, raise awareness and encourage people to participate in transforming their lives and live in a society of genuine freedom and peace.