Sandata arts collective aims to spread message about the Philippines’ war on drugs

OAKLAND, CA — BLKD and Calix performed in front of a crowd of Filipino Americans in Oakland.

Their music is influenced by the real stories of the thousands of victims from the war on drugs taking place in the Philippines.

The rappers are part of a collective called Sandata — who aims to stop the spread of what they are calling misinformation about the drug war through music and information.

They are in the Bay Area for their first stop in their U.S. tour.

“It’s somewhat poetic that we were here during the 4/20 celebration. We went to hippie hill and basically, we thought it was something surreal to see that something so celebrated here could get our loved ones back home killed.”

Sandata cites how President Rodrigo Duterte promised to rid the country of drugs, corruption, and criminality in the first three to six months of his presidency — and yet — the number of killings in the drug war continues to rise.

“As long as you’re not part of the higher echelon of society you are part of the target.”

“I guess this is what the message the collective is trying to drive. This war is basically not the war on drugs but really the war on the poor. And using art and data together is something the communities can use to protect them,” says Tanya Quijano

According to a study by the University of Leeds — tolerance for the drug war in the Philippines is achieved through the spread of misinformation through social media.

Sandata also calls attention to how the effects of the drug war will carry on in future generations.

“They mapped out how celebritiy influencers would trickle down mis-information to their followers and the follower would trickle it down to more trolls who will repeat this inofrmation again and again until it goes down to the public and it drowns out real news.”

Sandata has been meeting with students and community members in places such as UC Berkeley and high schools in Daly City.

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