Local police station tags relief drives, rallying, sharing memes as 'terrorism'
Photo shows a graphic posted by the Batac City Police Station
City of Batac Police Station on Facebook / Released then later deleted

Local police station tags relief drives, rallying, sharing memes as 'terrorism'

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - January 24, 2021 - 5:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — Under the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act, protesting, helping relief drives that aren't state-sanctioned, or even retweeting memes can be grounds to classify someone as a terrorist, a local police station said in a graphic posted over the weekend. 

Among the acts defined to be terrorism in the post by City of Batac Police Station on Facebook are:

  • Damage or attempted damage on government properties/facilities
  • Donating or helping relief drives that aren't government or state-recognized 
  • Participating in a rally or any movement that can cause a "serious risk to public safety"
  • Posting, writing, sharing and/or retweeting posts (even memes) related to "terrorist activities" 

This, supposedly according to Senate Bill No. 1083 or the Anti-Terrorism Act, which has seen 36 legal challenges before the Supreme Court. 

The graphic posted by the police station was also an edited and translated repost of an earlier graphic posted by AlterMidya-People's Alternative Media Network.

On Sunday, the official page of the Police Regional Office 6 in Iloilo City also shared a post by the Civil Relations Service of the AFP publicly throwing support behind the abrogation of the 1989 agreement between the University of the Philippines and the defense department requiring police and military to give the school administration prior notice before entering the campus to carry out official operations. 

"The UP-DND accord was used to uphold academic freedom but these leftist groups have abused it to shield them," the graphic quotes the right-wing Duterte Youth party-list as saying.

Police Gen. Debold Sinas in an earlier statement claimed that the accord "limits police and military presence in all its campuses" and "did not serve the best interest of public order and security" in its 30 years in effect.

Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, himself a former police chief, claimed in a radio interview earlier Sunday that allowing police and military forces into the campus would assist them in "case buildup" against recruiters of the New People's Army. 

RELATED: PNP backs UP-DND accord termination, claims agreement 'did not serve best interest'

Why does this matter?

  • Over the coronavirus pandemic, the national police has used its social media channels to red-tag registered lawmakers without proof and support policies initiated by the Duterte administration. 

"As far as we are concerned, official Facebook pages of the PNP and those of our lower units remain compliant with standards and continue to serve its purpose along these objectives," the agency asserted in September

  • Other activists who have been red-tagged were later found dead. Dela Rosa's colleagues in the Senate have admitted that the practice of red-tagging has led to violence. 

READ: 'Dura 'Likes': PNP social media rules and what police actually post

  • But even regional PNP channels have regularly posted content vilifying activists and left-leaning groups critical of the administration, accusing them of being fronts for communist rebels.  
  • The graphic "art" typically features activists, along with accusations of their links to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army. Other posts even include the faces of those being red-tagged. 

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