Solon questions deferred debate on NCIP budget over the term 'red-tagging' | Inquirer News

Solon questions deferred debate on NCIP budget over the term ‘red-tagging’

/ 02:10 AM September 17, 2022
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Sagip Partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta. FACEBOOK

MANILA, Philippines – SAGIP Representative Rodante Marcoleta on Friday questioned the deferral of the House appropriations committee’s deliberations on the proposed 2023 budget of the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) over a word not found in the English dictionary — red-tagging.

The deliberations for the NCIP’s proposed budget for 2023 was suspended by the panel last Wednesday, September 7 for “doubling on activities, which is not within its mandate, using their meager funds.”


At the resumption of the committee hearing on Friday, Marcoleta said he was wondering why NCIP was being accused of such practice when it has not even been formally defined yet.

“Kinonsulta ko po maski na iyong diksyunaryo natin sa library na napaka kapal. Hindi ko po nakita iyong ‘red-tag.’ Kaya ako po’y nagtataka kung bakit pinipilit isangkot iyong salita na wala naman sa English dictionary,” he noted.


(I consulted even the thick dictionary in the House library, and I didn’t see the word ‘red-tag.’ That’s why I’m wondering why the NCIP is forcibly linked with a word that’s not even in the English dictionary.

He then added: “Patawarin na po ninyo ako sapagkat, hindi ko po talaga alam ang isang salita kung wala naman sa diksyunaryo at kung ito ang magiging batayan na gagamitin pa para i-defer ang isang budget ng isang masasabi nating napaka importante rin na agency.”

(Forgive me, because I don’t know words that are not in the dictionary, so why should this be enough basis to defer the approval of the budget of, I would say, a very important agency.)

Red-tagging or red-baiting, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, “ is the act of attacking or persecuting as a Communist or as communistic.”

‘Continuing evolution’

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman later argued that “language is in the process of a continuing evolution.”

“So, I would just like to say that even if red-tagging is not in the Merriam Webster dictionary, it is understood. The head of the NCIP understood what red-tagging is. It’s actually derogatory to the victims of red-tagging,” he added.

But Marcoleta asserted that “in the evolution of a language, nobody or no one single group can impose its own definition of a particular word.”


“Sa kanila lang nanggaling iyong red-tagging. It shouldn’t be imposed on society. Kinakailangan mapag-isipan natin kung tama nga iyong pagkakagamit natin. Kinakailangan nila sigurong ipaliwanag mabuti at gamitin natin nang malaganap para sa iyon, ma-internalize natin na iyon pala iyong pinag-uusapan natin,” he said.

(The definition of red-tagging only came from one group. It shouldn’t be imposed on society. We need to thoroughly think about whether this is used in the right way. They need to explain it to us properly and use it more frequently, so we’ll be able to internalize its definition and know what it means when we talk about it.)

READ: Red-tagging: It’s like ‘living with a target on your head’

Are anti-insurgency efforts a sin?

Marcoleta argued that if the NCIP had been allotting some of its funds for anti-insurgency efforts, it shouldn’t necessarily be seen as bad.

“Kung saka-sakaling nagagamit ang konting barya na iyan sa pagtulong sa ikapapayapa ng bansa, kasalanan po ba iyon?” he asked.

(If its meager funds will be used to help maintain peace and order in the country, is that a sin?)

NCIP chairman Allen Capuyan said he believes this should not be an issue since “the higher calling of the agency is to ensure the recognition, respect and promotion of the rights of our indigenous peoples (IPs).”

Marcoleta also pointed out that the NCIP has the responsibility of ensuring that IPs are resilient, strong, and capable of rejecting factors that may rattle their way of life.

He then asked Capuyan if red-tagging which, to his understanding, is labeling groups as left-leaning, is necessary when the public is already familiar with who these leftists are.

“Ang ginagawa po, hindi lang ng NCIP, pati ibang ahensya ng gobyerno, nag-truth telling sila,” Capuyan maintained.

(What the NCIP and other government agencies are doing is truth-telling.)

Call for NCIP budget hike

Earlier, Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez called for the proposed 2023 budget of the NCIP to be increased to P2.8 billion.

“This is the agency that takes care of our IPs from Batanes to Jolo to Tawi-Tawi, but I’m amazed that their budget is so small,” he said.

Rodriguez zoomed in on the “small reduction” from the NCIP’s 2022 budget which, he said, “shows the non-attention of the national government to our indigenous people.”

Capuyan echoed the sentiment on the insufficient NCIP budget, noting that the agency would need P3 billion a year for the next ten years to fulfill its mandate.

He said that since 2019, they have sought such funds under the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

After hearing this, Rodriguez moved for the committee to augment the NCIP budget for 2023.

“We ask for more budget for our IP scholarship. We give more budget for those for those board exam takers who are IPs, and therefore, I move that we approve the budget of P1.4 billion plus – this is the most important point – P1.4 billion to be able to give them P2.8 billion,” he said.


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TAGS: budget deliberations, NCIP, red-tagging, Rodante Marcoleta
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