'Ok ka lang, Parlade?': Red-tagging propaganda banned in Cavite
Screengrab shows Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla.
Jonvic Remulla on Facebook
'Ok ka lang, Parlade?': Red-tagging propaganda banned in Cavite
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - October 26, 2020 - 5:44pm

MANILA, Philippines — Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla slammed anti-insurgency spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., vowing to take down any red-tagging posters and similar propaganda spotted in the province on Monday. 

In a Facebook post published early Monday morning, Remulla admonished Parlade, a member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, for his red-tagging of progressive voices without any evidence, suggesting that his accusations are meant to distract the public from bigger issues. 

This comes after Parlade hurled accusation after accusation against a litany of public figures over the weekend, from celebrities Liza Soberano and Catriona Grey to lawmakers under the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives. In no instance has he presented a cogent argument to back up his claim, opting instead to reassert his claims each time. 

"Your train of thought and reasoning are preposterous and shifty. If you want to threaten the lives of public personalities, may I suggest that you try knocking out someone on the same weight class?" Remulla's post read. 

"Let me assure you that if you or any of your men put up similar posters or tarpaulins in the Province of Cavite, they will not last a day! I will personally lead the effort to tear your propaganda posters down," he added. 

Red-tagging or red herring?

Remulla is not the first local chief executive to oppose the NTF-ELCAC's efforts. 

When Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso removed similar tarpaulins in the city of Manila, Parlade was quick to brand him as a communist sympathizer, which Remulla pointed out in his post. 

"Have you ever heard of a red herring? It is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue. It may either be a smokescreen, machination or a tactic that leads people towards a distraction," he said.

"Roads, water, education, connectivity, modernity and economic prosperity are far more powerful than any propaganda tool...Ultimately, the fight against the appeal of joining the insurgency starts with jobs, justice, and the commitment of government to uphold their obligations to the people. Slogans, red-tagging and threats will never prosper nor win." 

Even the DILG has acknowledged "poor governance, corruption, political injustice and marginalization, and lack of basic services" as among the factors contributing to radicalization, though the department itself is among those consistently red-tagging government critics, including activists and journalists. 

READ: How the DILG plans to prevent, counter violent extremism

Feminists, not terrorists

Remulla also slammed the senior military general for going after the celebrities, particularly Liza Soberano, who only gave a talk at an online seminar organized by Gabriela Youth before Parlade warned her that she would "share the fate" of activists who were killed by military forces. 

"Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. should be ashamed of himself. Threatening progressive and outspoken women who want to encourage a stronger feminist culture? That does not make them co-conspirators nor allies of the left-wing," the Cavite governor said in his post. 

Immediately after Parlade posted his warning, Rep. Arlene Brosas (Gabriela Party-List) was quoted as saying: "How come these macho-fascists have the audacity to mansplain strong women and lecture them on what to do? And why do they seem so afraid of women using their platform to defend other women?"

READ: Gabriela on general's warning to Liza Soberano: Why so afraid of women defending other women?

Palace: State forces should be 'very careful' with red-tagging

Palace spokesperson Harry Roque at a press briefing later Monday also said: "Defense Sec. Lorenzana has said 'there is no need to publicize' list of suspected communists...[they should] just do their job. Keep quiet. Iyan po ang polisiya na sinabi ni Secretary Lorenzana in behalf of the president (That is the policy that Secretary Lorenzana said)."

He was referring to Lorenzana's earlier pronouncement that security forces should keep their mouths shut if they did not have the evidence to back up their accusations.

"Although ELCAC is a very good idea, it is not right to shotgun everybody. [We] should be selective. Don’t just accuse someone as leftist or a member of the NPA. We should have evidence," he was quoted as saying earlier. 

"Otherwise, just keep quiet," he added. 

In response to the warnings, though, Parlade said that Lorenzana's words were "twisted" by the media and that he had no intention of holding off on posting his accusations publicly. 

However, the NTF-ELCAC is an attached bureau under the Office of the President, creative by virtue of an executive order signed by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte. Parlade himself has said that his public posts were not his personal opinions but are instead the official position of the NTF-ELCAC.

Even the Department of the Interior and Local Government, a member of the NTF-ELCAC, has said that celebrities should not be regarded as terrorists.

"These personalities want change, and they are fighting for issues for women for certain sectors, but that doesn't mean that they are already terrorists," interior secretary Eduardo Año told DZMM TeleRadyo earlier Monday. "Let's let them express what they want to freely."

CAVITE GOVERNOR JONVIC REMULLA NTF-ELCAC RED-TAGGING
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