Army to probe Red-tagging of journalists
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) has vowed to probe, in coordination with the police, the Red-tagging of journalists based here.
In a dialogue with the local chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Wednesday, Brig. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, 4ID commander, denied that the military had a hand in Red-tagging the journalists and suggesting a P1-million bounty for killing one of them.
“We don’t do that because, in the first place, we gain nothing from it,” Gacal said, adding that those behind the Red-tagging were employing “scare tactics” to spread “cheap propaganda” against journalists and other personalities.
Last week, journalists Cong Corrales, associate editor of Mindanao Gold Star Daily, and Froilan Gallardo, who writes for MindaNews and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, were accused of having ties with the communist New People’s Army.
Three other journalists were targeted earlier, along with individuals from progressive groups.
Pam Orias, chair of the local NUJP chapter and one of those earlier Red-tagged, said journalists could only feel safe when the perpetrators had been identified and made to account for their action.
Councilor Romeo Calizo said a technical working group could examine proposals coming from various groups on how to address the issue, which the city council could then consider.
Lawyer Beverly Musni, who was Red-tagged herself, said that an ordinance penalizing Red-tagging “would greatly contribute to our human rights work, as it will protect the lives of civilians.”
Musni’s group also proposed that barangay officials and residents be required to help authorities identify persons who put up posters and other materials that attack or accuse individuals or groups of having ties with communist rebels.
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