Members of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club and NUJP burned
Photo courtesy of Menzie Montes of Magnum Radyo 99.9 in Cagayan de Oro City.
NUJP lauds Cagayan de Oro press for unity vs red-tagging
(Philstar.com) - May 28, 2019 - 10:06pm

MANILA, Philippines — Cagayan de Oro journalists on Monday pulled down and burned a banner accusing some in their ranks of supporting terrorists.

According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, members of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club found a black streamer accusing the NUJP and other groups of being terrorists.

The banner was hung on the fence of the Press Freedom Monument at Vicente de Lara Park, where members of the media were to mark Press Freedom Week. They removed and burned the streamer in protest.

"The united community of independent Filipino journalists is capable of holding back the darkness that seeks to engulf us once again," NUJP said in a statement commending the Cagayan de Oro media for the show of unity.

"That the incident happened on the first day of Cagayan de Oro’s celebration of Press Freedom Week... indicates it was intended as a warning to all journalists to go easy on critical reportage and commentary," NUJP also said.

Despite the red-tagging incident, the NUJP lauded local media practitioners for “their show of unity against unrelenting efforts to suppress freedom of the press and of expression.”

"We condemn the red-tagging of the NUJP," Uriel Quilinguing, a former president of the COPC as well as a former chairman of NUJP-Cagayan de Oro, said in a media alert on Monday.

"A critical press serves the public interest and should therefore not be subjected to attacks," Pamela Jay Oria, chair of the NUJP-Cagayan de Oro chapter, also said Monday.

'Red-tagging'

Members of the Cagayan de Oro press have previously been "red-tagged" or labelled as communist rebels.

This is not the first incident of red-tagging that was directed towards the NUJP.

In December 2018, NUJP, along with the League of Filipino Students, College Editors Guild of the Philippines and Students Christian Movement of the Philippines, were accused of being “legal fronts” of the Communist Party of the Philippines. These groups are also among those mentioned on the banner found on Monday.

Just earlier this year, the NUJP also found itself accused in tabloid reports of having links to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front.

And attacks on journalists are not new.  As of the beginning of the year, 12 journalists have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016.

In April, a "matrix" linked media organizations Rappler, Vera Files, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism in an alleged plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte. Pressed to show proof of the supposed conspiracy, the Palace said it was "totally unnecessary" to do so.

"The matrix shows that there is an ouster plot. It is just a plot, a plan, an idea,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said earlier this month. — Philstar.com intern Michelle Co

NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES PRESS FREEDOM
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