Students, workers in UP Visayas decry Red-tagging
ILOILO CITY—Student organizations and the employees union of the University of the Philippines (UP) in the Visayas have decried the continued Red-tagging of activists’ groups in the city.
A poster displayed near the entrance of the UP Visayas campus in Maig-ao town in Iloilo province accused student and youth groups of “being used” by the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. Similar posters were seen in other towns near Miag-ao.
Groups identified in the posters were Kabataan, Anakbayan, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, League of Filipino Students, Oikos Ecological Movement, Sandigan ng Mag-aaral para sa Sambayanan (Samasa)-UPV and National Union of Students of the Philippines.
Samasa, in a statement, decried the display of the posters as “another desperate attempt of the state to silence its critics and dissenters.”
The student groups noted that the posters appeared after hundreds of students joined protest rallies commemorating the 47th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Hundreds of students also joined the UP system-wide walkout against moves to send soldiers and policemen to campuses in the country.
“They are clearly threatened by the growing student movement evident by the series of successful protest actions conducted, such as the recent mobilization against Marcos’ martial law, and [President] Duterte’s tyranny on Sept. 20 and the walkout against campus militarization,” they said.
They said the Red-tagging threatened student activists, noting that most victims of extrajudicial killings were Red-tagged before they were killed.
“Red-tagging not only puts the organization and its members under malice, but also puts their safety and security under grave threat …,” they said.
The All UP Academic Employees Union Iloilo chapter also denounced the Red-tagging of student groups. “This act is dangerous at a time when critics are being persecuted and killed. These false accusations endanger students who stand for the rights and welfare of the people,” the union said in a statement.
These accusations “endanger our students who are standing for the rights and welfare of the Filipino people,” it said, adding that Red-tagging “suppresses the freedom of thought and expression and to organize in the university.” —NESTOR BURGOS JR.
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