Intel chief Red-tags publishing company
Expectedly, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica) tagged the effort of a local publishing house to make information on martial law more accessible to children as a communist plot.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Nica Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo Red-tagged Adarna House, saying its attempt to sell book bundles about Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship was part of its plan to “subtly radicalize” Filipino children against the government.
Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy, spokesperson for the relentless Red-tagger National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), also said Adarna House was infiltrated by communists, and that the books were “planting hate and lies in the tender hearts of our children.”
Adarna House is an established family-run publishing house founded by National Artist Virgilio Almario in 1980.
“What is dangerous here is you’re presenting an issue of martial law in children’s books. When you teach that to kids, you are planting seeds of hatred and dissent in the minds of these children,” Monteagudo said in an NTF-Elcac presser on Friday.
For the Filipino child
Instead of telling their children what happened during the martial law years, he said, parents should first teach their children to recite the alphabet and pray to God.
Monteagudo said his post was a warning: “It is to warn our people to protect our children. Our children are worth fighting for, unless you do not agree with me.”
On Monteagudo’s Facebook post, some commenters suggested closing down the publishing house that aims to mold “the Filipino child who loves and values his history, culture and country.”
On Wednesday, with the dictator’s son and namesake Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recording a huge lead in the partial unofficial vote count of the Commission on Elections, Adarna House offered the #NeverAgain book bundle at a discounted price.
The titles in the bundle are “Ito ang Diktadura” (2017) by Equipo Plantel; “Edsa” (2013) by Russell Molina; “Isang Harding Papel” (2014) and “Si Jhun-Jhun, Noong Bago Ideklara ang Batas Militar” (2001) by Augie Rivera; and “The Magic Arrow” (2021) by Bolet Banal.
Rivera, who wrote two of the featured children’s illustrated books, condemned Monteagudo and Badoy’s Red-tagging.
He denied any connection with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) or its armed and political wings, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, respectively.
According to Rivera, he wrote “Si Jhun-Jhun, Noong Bago Ideklara ang Batas Militar” back in 2001 as part of a five-book series published by Unicef (or the United Nations Children’s Fund) Philippines and Adarna House.
“It is a work of historical fiction that depicts important lessons and events from our history,” he said.
On Twitter, acclaimed English fantasy writer Neil Gaiman said the Red-tagging of Adarna House was “not good.”
A couple of Gaiman’s works, including the graphic novel “Sandman,” were banned in different countries for themes supposedly unsuitable for the intended age reading group.
This is not the first time that a Filipino bookseller has been Red-tagged. In March, Popular Bookstore and Solidaridad Book Shop were defaced with anticommunist graffiti.
Progressive faculty and academic staff at the University of the Philippines claimed it was the handiwork of the NTF-Elcac, which also instigated the pullout of progressive books from the libraries of some state colleges last year.
In April 2021, Monteagudo was criticized by a number of senators for linking a Senate workers’ union to the CPP.
On his Facebook post, Monteagudo claimed that the Sandigan ng mga Empleyadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon “serves as the eyes and ears” of the communists “to hijack government plans and programs.”
He did not substantiate his claims and did not provide proof.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III defended the chamber’s employees and dared the Nica chief to name the union members allegedly supporting the communist movement.
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