Constant red-tagging of activists confirms critiques of anti-terror law â peasant group
Activist groups troop to University of the Philippines Diliman to oppose the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020
Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV
Constant red-tagging of activists confirms critiques of anti-terror law — peasant group
(Philstar.com) - July 8, 2020 - 4:49pm

MANILA, Philippines — A federation of peasant women on Wednesday cast fear that the rising cases of red-tagging, particularly of activists, saying that these confirm the prevalent criticisms against the controversial anti-terror bill, which was recently passed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte. 

In a statement, the National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) said that the law would only later on be weaponized against activists and organizations found to be critical of the administration, as has already been the pattern in recent months. 

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According to Amihan, 29 activists from Isabela and Cagayan reported being red-tagged recently; with the latter discovering ripped sacks with their names on them and accusing them of being members of the New People's Army hanging on trees. They also reported that fliers were distributed in Tuguegarao City and calling them recruiters of the NPA. 

“The serial red-tagging against activists in Cagayan Valley confirms the legitimate critique or basis of opposing the terror law.  The law does not aim to solve terrorism but will serve as legal arsenal against legal and democratic activists and organizations who oppose the anti-people programs and policies of the government,’” Zenaida Soriano, Amihan National Chairperson exclaimed. 

"Red-tagging is state terror itself, as it mongers fear among the people against practicing the constitutional rights to freedom of expression, speech, peaceful assembly and organization. Just like general Esperon said, ‘kung tahimik naman sila, huwag sila mababahala (if they keep quiet, then they need not worry)."

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As it stands, elements of no less than the Palace communications team, the national police and even the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict—a task force directly under the Office of the President's jurisdiction—have already actively and publicly red-tagged activists and even journalists found to be critical of the administration.

In most instances, all three have either washed their hands of the continued red-tagging or failed to acknowledge it altogether, despite the Commission on Human Rights already warning against the practice and saying that it "violates the constitutional guarantee of presumption of innocence and may have serious implications on the security and movement of individuals and groups involved."

A report by the United Nations in June has said that the narrative that critics of the government are linked to communist rebels has become “increasingly institutionalized and normalized in ways that will be very difficult to reverse."

“We are already mulling filing a complaint at the Commission on Human Rights and pushing for a house probe against this state terror assault on people’s democratic rights. This should be addressed head-on, to hinder its escalation," Soriano said. — Franco Luna with a report from Gaea Katreena Cabico

AMIHAN ANTI-TERROR LAW ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES NATIONAL TASK FORCE TO END LOCAL COMMUNIST ARMED CONFLICT NTF-ELCAC PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE RED-TAGGING REDTAGGING
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