Red-tagging? So? It is just profiling!

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

Department of Education is drawing up a list of teachers who are union members and, as expected, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, a leftist party-list organization, quickly raised a howl, claiming this action constituted red-tagging. It was joined just as quickly by bleeding hearts onboard the bandwagon of human rights and other lofty ideals.

Nothing wrong with human rights and other lofty ideals. I myself started writing a column under the banner "Human Writes" until I realized I was being taken for a ride by those who inspired me to write so angrily in the name of individual freedoms. When the opportunity came, I changed my banner to what it is now and never regretted it.

Human rights only gets tacky when it is overly romanticized, especially by people who merely want to be counted as advocates without really doing any affirmative action to defend it beyond paying it lip service. The reds mesmerize the gullible to hide the larger picture of a subdued state under totalitarian rule.

Okay, maybe the DepEd is truly profiling its teachers to find out if there is any red infestation in the ranks and to what extent. So? Isn't that great that an agency of government is actually doing something concrete to protect democracy and our way of life as we know it? You cannot cure a disease if you do not know what it is and where it hurts.

Besides, we do not know yet what will happen beyond the profiling, which is actually what red-tagging is. So let us not put the cart before the horse. Unless people who are red-tagged start getting rounded up, lined up against the wall and then shot, then our time is better spent on more productive means than listening to the rant of an enemy exposed.

There is nothing wrong in profiling. Profiling happens everyday of our lives. Everytime we fill up forms, whether for work, school, or whatever, we are always asked for our age, sex, civil status, nationality, religion. Not everybody gets to board first and we do not mix toilets. In so many ways our lives are lived out according to profiles we make of ourselves.

Profiling is good. It is necessary for, say, amassing demographic data upon which policy directions and business decisions are made. It helps determine the amounts senior citizens might be given in allowances or students their discounts. Dedicated lanes for seniors, pregnant women and PWDs most probably had some profiling that went into their making.

In the case of DepEd, profiling ---- okay, let us call it red-tagging ----has some very useful applications. It can be used to know precisely why some teachers might be turning red. Maybe this is a way of knowing what ails them and then addressing the ailment. The DepEd wants to solve the problem. The reds only want it to fester and spread.

I know this is a case of the state trying to protect itself in the interest of national security. At the same time it is also a matter of individual rights such as the freedom of choice or right to organize or join a union. Both individual rights and security of the state bear heavily on everyone and may be equally important.

But if one must prevail, I have no difficulty proposing which it must. I am no lawyer so I employ no legalese here. Let me just recall our pandemic experience. When the lockdowns came, out the window went individual freedoms. Nobody questioned the might of the state in trying to protect itself. Tanks coralled entire communities. Even the reds were silent.

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