Red-tagging, harassment reminiscent of martial law years
We progressive faculty at the University of the Philippines Diliman under the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy expresses alarm over the Duterte regime’s warning of “communist infiltration” of opposition campaign rallies to “disrupt the elections.” We believe President Duterte’s baseless fabrications of a “communist plot” is a flimsy excuse for a brewing crackdown on the broad political opposition led by Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, and a diverse array of civil society and democratic forces.
Red-tagging poses a danger to the very lives of its victims. This can be seen in the latest case of harassment of Anakpawis urban poor members in Cavite in the wake of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Rep. Boying Remulla’s false accusations of “communist rebel” participation in Leni-Kiko’s campaign sorties in the province. After Mr. Duterte lamely rehashed Lacson’s line of a “communist coalition with the opposition,” the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) has chimed in with its malicious claims even as the Philippine National Police said it will already investigate the matter.
Under the Duterte administration, much like the dark years of martial law under Marcos, manufactured accusations of communist infiltration have become preposterous because anyone and anything that threatens the interests of the Dutertes and Marcoses is tagged as communistic and terroristic. Instead of participating in Red-tagging, the AFP and PNP should maintain their neutrality, avoid partisanship, and not allow themselves to be used by the Marcos-Duterte camp to intervene in a civilian democratic exercise in the guise of an anachronistic, anti-communist crusade.
Mr. Duterte’s Red-tagging of the opposition is remarkably reminiscent of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s concocted justifications for imposing military rule 50 years ago. Pre-martial law warnings of “communist and liberal alliance” and false flag operations that included bomb scares and Juan Ponce-Enrile’s fake ambush (blamed on fictional communist rebels) were used to set the stage for martial law, repression of the opposition, and unprecedented human rights violations.
We should all stand against Red-tagging because it represents impunity, the culture of violence, and a return to the dark years of the Marcos martial law. The unfounded and ridiculous Red-tagging and attacks by the Duterte regime on the Leni-Kiko campaign justify the demand to abolish the odious NTF-Elcac that functions as an instrument for repression of democratic forces. The anti-communist agency stands in the way of the resumption of peace talks to resolve the systemic roots of armed conflict through comprehensive socioeconomic and political reforms.
Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy
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