‘Green’ coalition accuses SMNI, AFP of ‘Red-tagging’

‘Green’ coalition accuses SMNI, AFP of ‘Red-tagging’

/ 05:15 AM February 13, 2024


Lorraine Badoy —PHOTO FROM HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES / Eric Celiz —PHOTO                                                                                                                                      FROM HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FACEBOOK

A group of 37 environmental organizations filed a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday, accusing a military unit and a media network of Red-tagging them and endangering their lives.

The Environmental Defenders Congress (Envidefcon), a coalition of organizations working to protect the environment and human rights, said they were harassed by the Philippine Army’s 80th Infantry Battalion (80th IB) and Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), a broadcast company owned by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.


This was after the coalition expressed support for the local chapter of Karapatan, a militant human rights group, which raised an urgent alert over increased military presence in Rodriguez, Rizal, where a controversial dam project is being built.


According to the Envidefcon, the 80th IB accused them in a Feb. 2 Facebook post of spreading propaganda and misinformation. It also linked them to the Communist Party of the Philippines, which the government has declared a terrorist organization.

The coalition added that SMNI hosts Lorraine Badoy and Ka Eric Celiz echoed the same allegations against them during a talk show on Feb. 4 that featured 80th IB commander Lt. Col. Mark Antony Ruby. The video of the talk show was later shared on social media.

In their complaint letter to CHR chair Richard Palpal-latoc, the coalition asked the human rights body to investigate the Red-tagging incidents and censure both the 80th IB and SMNI for violating their rights. It also sought the removal of the 80th IB’s Facebook post and SMNI video, as it called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to stop the Red-tagging activities by the 80th IB and other military units.

Military pullout pushed

The Envidefcon further called for the pullout of the 80th IB from Rodriguez, Rizal, citing the escalating militarization in the area and the harassment of environmental defenders and communities opposed to the Wawa-Violago Dam Projects.

The dam projects have been criticized by environmental groups and indigenous peoples who say these pose a threat to the biodiversity and water security of the Sierra Madre mountain range, the longest in the Philippines.


The Envidefcon warned that Red-tagging not only violates their democratic rights but also puts their safety at risk.

It added that by “undermining [the coalition’s] legitimate work by arbitrarily and baselessly associating [it] with illegal, so-called ‘terrorist’ activities and groups, [the 80th IB and SMNI are] effectively silencing or discrediting Envidefcon’s dissent or opposition [to environmentally destructive projects].”

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Merwin Jacob Alinea of Kalikasan Southern Tagalog, Dr. Jean Lindo of Panalipdan! Mindanao, Lia Mai Torres of the Center for Environmental Concerns, and Jon Bonifacio of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment—four of the Envidefcon’s steering committee members—signed the complaint.

Red-tagging is the practice of labeling individuals or groups as communists or terrorists, often without evidence, to discredit or harass them. INQ

TAGS: CHR, Military, red-tagging

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