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Solon decries red-tagging ‘policy’

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE ACT of red-tagging vocal citizens — including opposition lawmakers who are portrayed as terrorists — remains a “policy” the government has not abolished, Party-list Representative France L. Castro said on Thursday.

Reporting the political situation faced by lawmakers in the country, Ms. Castro accused the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. of carrying on with the government’s supposed policy of vilifying critical voices in Congress.

“Red-tagging and terrorist labeling remain tools of the Philippine government against progressive voices,” she said in her presentation.

Red-tagging is the act of accusing an individual or organization of sympathizing with communism.

It is a strategy used by the government against those perceived as “enemies of the state,” according to a dissenting opinion of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen.

“The administration of Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte ended last June 2022, but the policy of labeling individuals as ‘members’ and ‘recruiters’ for the New People’s Army… and are thus enemy of the state is still being implemented by his successor,” Ms. Castro said.

She said the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) continues to be “funded with billions” annually, attesting the current government’s support for the agency.

Mr. Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 six years ago, activating the NTF-ELCAC. “The same presidential edict led to extrajudicial killings during Duterte’s term under the veil of a so-called “whole-of-nation approach” to armed conflict,” Ms. Castro said.

“Far from abrogating the notorious Executive Order 70… President Marcos and the country’s defense and security agencies still implement it,” she added. — Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio

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