As the Catholic church celebrates the Holy Week more and more people succumb to the administration’s relentless and unapologetic war on drugs. Thousands have been killed either in registered police operations or deeply shadowed vigilante killings. The nooks, crannies and cement streets of Metro Manila has been bathed with the black of darkness and the red of blood of all the fallen bodies. Meanwhile, the president and his cohorts continue to wreak havoc, shamelessly defending the war they have waged against the poor and marginalised, all in the vestiges of progress and development.

To open this year, the UP Repertory Company, the University Performing Group for Philippine Theatre of UP Diliman presents PABASA OBITUARYO SA NANLABAN a three-day, non-stop devised performance featuring elements of Pabasa ng Pasyon, a century old tradition of the Catholic church remembering the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the persona of Vera Maningning.

With the inhumane war on drugs becoming a toll of numbers and bodies and consequently falling into desensitized psyches and naturalized occurrences, UP REP aims to commemorate all those who have been haphazardly killed in the war, with many not even made to deserve a proper funeral, a recognizable face, and even a name.

Thirty movers from the UP Repertory Company and various performing groups have trained and devised to put life through movement to the thousands of victims of the war on drugs who all have died underserved and undignified deaths. Instead of the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the PABASA OBITUARYO SA NANLABAN will portray the stories and accounts of all those who have perished in the war on drugs, some of them with no names, some killed in their sleep, some shot in the presence of their children and family, all of them commanded into death and oblivion just to fill a supposed quota of dead bodies.

The war on drugs is leaving behind a generation of orphans, broken families, devastated communities and a nation destroyed. But in the true sense of community theatre, UP REP’s aims to provide a venue wherein the community raged by massive genocide mourns together and consequently, collectively demand accountability and justice. The members of the community and the audience will be given the chance to read the Pabasa themselves and recite the thousands of names of all those who have fallen in the war on drugs.

Coordinated and choreographed by Bunny Cadag, with dramaturgy by Malvin Ramos, Jzar Tabilin, and Lucia Silva, with overall artistic direction by Manuel Mesina III, and featuring actors from all ages and from all walks of life, and the first in the series of the UP Repertory Company’s Dalawampung Rebolusyon ng Tula Dula, PABASA OBITUARYO SA NANLABAN will run on 4 PM Maundy Thursday March 29 to 4 PM Easter Sunday April 1 at Teacher’s Village East Playground (along C.P. Garcia Avenue) to narrate the life and death of thousands of ordinary masses, as they were forcefully whisked into their graves, as they resurrect and collectively chant the calls for justice.
PABASA OBITUARYO SA NANLABAN is co-presented by the UP Diliman Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts, Tau Rho Xi Fraternity, in partnership with UP UGAT.