Palihang Rogelio Sicat to hold its 17th workshop in June; political detainee among its 15 chosen writers for 2024

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The prestigious Palihang Rogelio Sicat (Rogelio Sicat Writers Workshop) will hold its 17th iteration at the Clark Free Port Zone in Mabalacat City, Pampanga, from June 5 to June 9.

And for the first time since it was conceptualized in 1984, the PRS is including among its 15 chosen writers for 2024 a political detainee.

Organizers of the PRS said the inclusion of Amanda Socorro Echanis was not political in nature.

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Amanda Socorro Echanis, a peasant organizer who has been detained for more than three years in the Cagayan Provincial Jail in Tuguegarao City, together with her three-year-old son (Photo sourced from the “Free Amanda Echanis Movement” Facebook Page)

“This is not a political issue. This is a simple matter. Amanda Echanis submitted a play and a poem which both placed No. 1. And because a writer can only enter one category, we placed her under the Play category,” said University of the Philippines-Diliman, College of Arts and Literature (CAL) Dean Jimmuel Naval, one of the founders of PRS.

Echanis is a peasant organizer who has been detained for more than three years in the Cagayan Provincial Jail in Tuguegarao City, together with her three-year-old son.

She is the daughter of slain peasant leader, peace advocate, and long-time consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Randall “Ka Randy” Echanis.

Naval added that Echanis is currently enrolled as a student of Creative Writing at the CAL.

Online ang kanyang pagpasok, bagay na nangyari dahil sa pandemic, at pinayagan naman ng awtoridad. Sa online din siya makikilahok sa Palihan [She attends classes online because of the pandemic. The authorities allowed it. She will be attending the PRS online],” Naval said.

The 15 chosen writers for the 2024 PRS were selected from among 100 student writers from all over the country. They include: Jessie Barcelon, Michael S. Bernaldez, Eric Jhon Bituin, Glen Patrick Camante, Jose Carrascal, Amanda Socorro Lacaba Echanis, Charles Julian Palma Gollayan, Al Jeffrey L. Gonzales, Vincent Imbat, Obi B. Magsombol, Marjay Manalastas, Wendrei Brent Orquiola, Elijah Felice Rosales, Mark Anthony S. Salvador, and Benj Gabun Sumabat.

Named after the late Rogelio Sicat, one of the pillars of Filipino literature, the PRS is an annual national training and workshop on Creative Writing in Pilipino. It is an outreach program of the Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature in UP Diliman, with Schedar Jocson as chair.

Organizers of the PRS said it is the 17th iteration of the training and workshop. It is held with the support of the UP Diliman Extension Programs in Pampanga and Olongapo under Director Purisima P. Panlilio, former Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan of Clark Development Corporation, and the Office of the UP Diliman Chancellor.

Acclaimed novelist, poet, critic and researcher Ramon Guillermo will be its principal speaker. A former UP Faculty Regent, Guillermo is currently Director of the Center for International Studies in UP-Diliman.

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