CHR told to look into âmass surrenderâ of Bayan Muna, Kadamay members
Bayan Muna party-list files their letter-complaint before the Commission on Human Rights on May 14, 2021.
Release/Bayan Muna party-list

CHR told to look into ‘mass surrender’ of Bayan Muna, Kadamay members

Xave Gregorio (Philstar.com) - May 14, 2021 - 4:55pm

MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna party-list is asking the Commission on Human Rights to look into the alleged “mass surrender” of its and Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap’s (Kadamay) members in exchange for aid from the government.

In a letter to CHR chairperson Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares called the supposed mass surrender another instance of red-tagging by President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-communist task force.

State-run Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported that on April 30, around 200 members of Bayan Muna and Kadamay, which it identified as “communist front organizations,” surrendered to the government and withdrew their support for the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

It is unclear why members of unarmed civilian organizations would “return to the government fold,” but PNA reported that those who surrendered were given rice and grocery items.

It also indicated that those who surrendered would be eligible for the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program for rebel returnees, even if they were not engaged in armed rebellion.

“These acts by public officials using public funds and position are in clear violations of our constitutionally guaranteed rights such as the presumption of innocence, freedom of expression, and the right to redress of grievances to the government, which should be stopped, even proscribed,” Colmenares said.

Bayan Muna, along with the other members of the leftist Makabayan bloc, has been targeted by Duterte’s anti-communist task force for supposedly being front organizations of the underground communist rebellion, though it has yet to provide strong evidence linking them.

Progressive groups worry that with state forces’ rampant red-tagging of them, they can be exposed to harm and even death, as what has happened with some activists.

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