Youth groups, CHR blast AFP list of schools linked to âRed Octoberâ
Representatives from different Metro Manila colleges and universities said the red-tagging of educational institutions vilifies legal student organizations and endangers the lives of students.

Youth groups, CHR blast AFP list of schools linked to ‘Red October’

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - October 4, 2018 - 2:43pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 5:19 p.m.) — Youth organizations slammed the Armed Forces of the Philippines for baring an unsubstantiated list of schools where communist rebels are allegedly trying to recruit students for the supposed plot to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a press briefing Thursday, representatives from different Metro Manila colleges and universities said the red-tagging of educational institutions vilifies legal student organizations and endangers the lives of students.

“We strongly call on the authorities to immediately drop this speculative accusation against the University of Santo Tomas and the other universities involved as this puts the safety and security of the community at risk,” Rafa Lipat, representative of UST Central Student Council, said.

He added that falsely accusing several groups shows that the government is “trying to provoke widespread bloodshed.”

In a separate statement, the Commission on Human Rights said the blanket act of red-tagging infringes the freedom of expression and rights to petition government and to assembly.

Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., AFP assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, on Wednesday accused the Communist Party of the Philippines of inciting students to rebel against the government using film showings on martial law.

He identified the schools as:

  • University of the Philippines (Diliman and Manila)
  • Polytechnic University of the Philippines
  • Ateneo de Manila University
  • De La Salle University
  • University of Santo Tomas
  • Adamson University
  • Far Eastern University
  • University of the East in Recto and Caloocan
  • Emilio Aguinaldo College
  • Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology
  • San Beda University
  • Lyceum of the Philippines University
  • University of Makati
  • University of Caloocan City
  • University of Manila
  • Philippine Normal University

‘Duterte destabilizing himself’

The youth groups stressed that it is not the young Filipinos who are trying to kick the chief executive out but it is Duterte who is doing the destabilizing all by himself.

“Kung meron mang sumisira o nagdedestabilize sa gobyernong ito, ‘yun ay walang iba kundi si Pangulong Duterte na matagal nang sumisira sa pangarap at buhay ng mga kabataan,” Kyle Atienza of FEU said.

They said that the youth’s intolerance of the government’s “tyrannical and anti-people” policies is the reason why they are implicated in the military’s ouster propaganda.

“Because of this, we the youth and students are being targeted in our own universities by being given starring roles in this ‘Red October’ fiction,” Jose Torio of Kabataan Katipunan said.

Film communities decries 'red-tagging'

On Thursday, more than 300 filmmakers, media workers, cultural workers and members of the film and artistic community circulated a statement on Facebook protesting the military “essentially [accusing] us and the organizations that sponsor film screenings on martial law of recruiting for the New People’s Army.” 

Parlade on Wednesday claimed that film showing activities that depict the dark years of martial law are being used to brainwash university and high school students. 

“They have ongoing film showings in class about the dark years of martial law  to incite students to rebel against the government, incite resurgence of the First Quarter Storm experience among students, while projecting President Duterte as the new Marcos,” the military official said. 

The film industry insiders said that the red-baiting done by the military impinges on their rights to freedom of expression, speech, and assembly, and endangers them and their audience. 

They stressed that the film screenings help the youth understand the atrocities that happened during the martial law era. 

“The screenings hope to provide them with knowledge and insight into that dark chapter in our history, especially since many of the actual perpetrators and beneficiaries of that fascist dictatorship have fully rehabilitated themselves back into mainstream politics and into positions of power,” they said. 

The workers in the film industry added: “Our events have also become venues for discussion and dialogue, between us as artists and documentarians of reality and the youth and the people we wish to serve.”

The group added: "Let us further spread the word. We will not be cowed by these threats even as we will continue to condemn and expose these threats. The screenings will go on—and multiply—in schools, in communities, in factories, in farms, in offices, in migrant gatherings. The truth telling will continue!"

LIST: Film industry workers denying alleged ‘Red October’ involvement

Universities deny ouster involvement

Universities denied that they are participating in the alleged “Red October” plot to destabilize the current government.

“It is a big allegation on the university. On our part, we have been in support of different educational needs of our marginalized sectors here in the university,” Mark Anthony Abenir, director of UST's Simbahayan Community Development Office, said in a statement tweeted by the school's student publication The Varsitarian.

University of Makati President Tomas Lopez also stressed the school has “no knowledge of any student activity linked to AFP’s claims.”

Emilio Aguinaldo College in Manila said neither the school nor its students have any "record of participation in any partisan political activity," adding the school is more engaged in outreach and community programs.

La Salle president Bro. Armin Luistro, for his part, found the accusation baffling that the AFP has not reached out to the institution before releasing the list.

"If there is really something substantial with their report, they would be holding dialogues with school officials, and not release intelligence information to the media," Luistro said.

CHR called on the military to be more prudent in releasing information.

“It also appears that the information has not been thoroughly validated amidst reports that based on the records of the CHED one of the listed schools does not exist,” it said.

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