Groups denounce red-tagging of legal organizations

Human rights group Katungod Eastern Visayas along with Kabataan Party-list Eastern Visayas condemned the malicious tagging of legal organizations and individuals by the military, particularly the 20th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army and the 803rd Infantry Brigade Philippine Army.

In a press release on October 19, Katungod Eastern Visayas pointed out that the recent red-tagging of activists is made “out of their (military) desperation to “neutralize” the NPA as as mandated by their boss, no other than President Duterte himself.”

Kabataan Party-list Eastern Visayas, on the other hand, demanded the 803rd Ibde PA to withdraw its statement calling the organization as a front of the New People’s Army (NPA). The same wrongful tagging was made to peasant organizations, human rights alliance and other party-lists such as Gabriela, Bayan Muna, ACT, Anakpawis and Migrante.

“It is clear that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is undertaking all measures to ensure that the members of the youth remain mum to the present issues that beset the Filipino people, especially at a time when the human rights situation in the country is ever-worsening,” said Kabataan Party-list Eastern Visayas.

In a facebook post of the 20th Infantry Battalion, it accused the CPP-NPA-NDF to be using the legal organization “to drive out government forces conductinv Community Support Programs” from communities “subjected by the CPP-NPA-NDF as their financial source by extoriting the community.”

Katungod Eastern Visayas however said that this statement of the military unit is only made to desperately belie their harrasments such as military encampment in seven villages in Las Navas and Catubig alone. The group also warned the AFP that these reports have already reached the desk of the Commission on Human Rights should this become a precedent to further human rights violations.

The said government critics are worried about this all-out red-tagging as it creates an unhealthy atmosphere for throwing criticisms against the government and its policies such as the soaring prices of commodities and its atrocities and abuses against the Filipino people.

“Lastly, we call on all human rights advocates to stay vigilant amd even more militant in combatting the intensifying red-tagging of civilians,” the human rights group concluded.

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Eastern Vista

Eastern Vista is an alternative media organization in Eastern Visayas. Stories of people in the struggle for justice and aid after super typhoon Yolanda inspired its creation in 2014. Eastern Vista is also a co-producer of Lingganay han Kamatuoran, a Waray-based radio magazine program airing since 2003. From Eastern Philippines, Eastern Vista shares the news and views from a people rising.

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