Castro mulling legal remedies after red-tagging anew from ex-NTF-Elcac officers
MANILA, Philippines — Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro is considering legal remedies after former anti-communist insurgency officers linked them anew to rebel fighters, claiming that these are mere “fake news.”
Castro, in a statement on Monday, said that the remarks made by former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) spokesperson Lorraine Badoy over a program at Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) about supposedly extorting money from teachers are not true.
During a recent program at SMNI, Badoy reiterated that Castro and other Makabayan lawmakers are urban operatives of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
“We reiterate that there is zero truth in the claims circulating online that ACT Teachers Party-List has been extorting teachers. These are simply fake news and another attempt to destroy our character, call us criminals, and stir away conversation from the worsening economic crisis in the country,” Castro said.
“We will file necessary legal remedies and also make concrete steps to alert the different social media platforms in addressing the spread of fake news and red-tagging against us to put a stop to the proliferation of false information and red-tagging,” she added.
According to Castro, the payments asked from teachers are union dues — benefits supposedly enjoyed by member-teachers.
“The P20 deducted from the members of the union are union dues — the benefits of which are also reaped by the teachers through medical and other benefits, union services, entry into negotiations with DepEd (Department of Education) regarding the Collective Negotiation Agreement for members and regional unions,” she said in Filipino.
“This is a legal deduction for the member of the union under the law on Public Sector Unionism. The ACT Teachers Party-List has no involvement in these talks and they are just spreading rumors that the union dues go straight to me,” Castro added.
Castro and other government officials like Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong were the subjects of Badoy and her co-hosts’ accusations recently, lamenting that Abante and Magalong have betrayed the country by siding with communists.
Magalong has condemned accusations that he is an accomplice of communist rebels, saying that what the local government does is to protect youthful activism — which does not necessarily mean espousing communist ideology.
READ: Magalong condemns ‘traitor’ tag: Baguio youth activists not communists
Castro said spreading such misleading information is dangerous because the public can be swayed and portray government officials as criminals.
“The spreading of this dangerous false information is an attempt by state forces to condition the minds of the public and demonize us as criminals. We vehemently condemn the proliferation of this false information and the non-stop red-tagging of progressive party-lists, organizations, and individuals,” she claimed.
“The proliferation of fake news that harms our person and our organization has serious consequences. Just recently, human rights defenders and Alliance of Concerned Teachers Region 7 coordinator Dyan Gumanao and development worker Armand Dayoha were kidnapped and were only recently found. Their abduction came after months of harassment, threats, and surveillance against them,” she added.
This is not the first time Castro and Magalong were accused of supporting communists. In March 2022, Magalong also banned the placement of tarpaulins meant to red-tag activists after students said they felt unsafe due to being labeled as members of communist organizations.
Meanwhile, in recent years, Castro and the Makabayan bloc have been subjected to red-tagging from NTF-Elcac officials and other former military personnel.
Baguio mayor bans red-tagging posters, tarps
ACT party-list’s Castro thanks Velasco for standing up vs red-tagging
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