Cebu News

Group claims worsening red-tagging, state surveillance in Cebu

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  On the 74th International Human Rights Day, BAYAN-Central Visayas joined the echoing call of the Filipino people: “Fight for the rights of the people and genuine peace!”

Despite a change in presidency with the Marcos-Duterte administration, Jaime Paglinawan, BAYAN-Central Visayas chairperson, said that the state of human rights in the Philippines remains the same.

He said that latest data from human rights group Karapatan shows that as of November 2022, cases of threats, harassment, and intimidation have risen to 357,405 while cases of non-drug-related extrajudicial killings rose to 15 and frustrated extrajudicial killings summed up to 4.

Thirty cases of illegal arrest and detention were recorded, 156 cases of illegal arrest without detention; 3,005 cases of indiscriminate firing, and 9,159 victims of forced evacuation—all in a span of four months.

Particularly, in Central Visayas, he said cases of red-tagging and state surveillance in Cebu have worsened.

“Progressive organizations such as the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Cebu (KMP-Cebu) continue to face harassment for their efforts for genuine land reform and the defense of peasant rights. The militarization and consequent harassment that farmers in Pinamungajan, Cebu face have worsened since it was first recorded in 2021,” he said.

Paglinawan added that red-tagging against progressive organizations have also increased, with reports of state forces threatening residents in Balamban, Cebu that they will lose their 4Ps cash grant if they join these organizations. This was also paired with a black propaganda film against an illegally detained and mentally tortured youth organizer from NCR.

Additionally, along with the red-tagging in Balamban of Kilusang Mayo Uno and progressive partylists, individuals who introduced themselves as members of the 82nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army coerced workers of the shipbuilding company Tsuneishi to sign an “affidavit” which was a blank paper, that stated that they were questioned on the names of leaders of progressive organizations and partylists, such as KMU, Bayan Muna, and Gabriela, and that this would “clear their name.”

He added that individuals who identified themselves as members of the Philippine Air Force also continually redtag urban poor organizations in Lapu-Lapu City, and incidents of surveillance and tailing are recorded weekly among member-organizations of urban poor group Panaghugpong-Kadamay Cebu.

“With the heightening cases of red-tagging, BAYAN-Central Visayas pushes for the resumption of the peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP, because only through genuinely addressing the roots of armed conflict will there be genuine resolution for it,” he further said. — GMR (FREEMAN)

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