Elago calls on House to condemn NTF-Elcac, Parlade for red-tagging of schools
MANILA, Philippines — Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago is urging the House of Representatives to “condemn and hold accountable” the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) and its spokesperson Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. for red-tagging a number of colleges and universities in the country.
In her resolution filed Monday, Elago called on the House to express its sense to condemn Parlade and the NTF-Elcac, saying it is imperative for the lawmakers to uphold and protect academic freedom of educational institutions.
Elago pointed out that under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, mere suspicion of being linked to a terrorist group can lead to unjust detention.
“In several cases, the red-tagging of certain individuals has led to their deaths. Thus, linking these educational institutions as recruitment centers of the CPP-NPA-NDF thoughtlessly endangers the students and all of stakeholders’ lives and security with the threat of warrantless arrests and violations of human rights,” Elago said.
The young lawmaker likewise said that schools must be safe spaces and zones of peace that are free from police and military presence intervention, harassment and intimidation.
“The officials of the Duterte administration have intently pursued the baseless red-tagging of schools while there is still no concrete and comprehensive plan for expedient and continued government support for educational stakeholders and the safe reopening of schools nationwide,” Elago said.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago calls on House to condemn the NTF-ELCAC and its spokesperson Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. for red-tagging a number of colleges and universities in the country. @inquirerdotnet pic.twitter.com/W6y3IfVdqW
— Neil Arwin Mercado (@NAMercadoINQ) February 8, 2021
The latest series of red-tagging universities in the country came as the Department of National Defense (DND) abrogated its agreement with the University of the Philippines prohibiting military presence inside its premises without prior notice.
In a letter to UP President Danilo Concepcion dated Jan. 15, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the agreement had been a hindrance to operations against communist rebels, especially the recruitment of NPA cadres in the University of the Philippines.
Lorenzana said the DND “is aware that there is indeed an ongoing clandestine recruitment inside UP campuses nationwide” by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA). Both have been declared as terrorist organizations by the Anti-Terrorism Council created by the new anti-terror law.
In response, Concepcion said the unilateral termination of the pact was totally unnecessary, adding that it may worsen, rather than improve, relations between the institutions.
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