ACT slams distribution of ‘Red-tagging’ leaflets

Teachers panicked when the Department of Education (DepEd) requested a list of those who use an automatic salary deduction system due to past profiling incidents targeting them, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) claimed on Monday.

Photo from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers

MANILA, Philippines — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) has said it plans to make full use of the recent Supreme Court decision declaring Red-tagging as a threat to one’s life by citing it in a complaint it will file with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

ACT Chair Vladimer Quetua said the group was still gathering information about last month’s distribution by the military and Department of Education (DepEd) personnel of leaflets referring to students who belong to youth groups as terrorists during a seminar at Taytay Senior High School in Rizal province.

READ: Supreme Court: Red-tagging threatens one’s right to life, security

For ACT Teachers party list Rep. France Castro, the incident was a “clear case of harassment and intimidation” and a “blatant disregard” of the recent Supreme Court ruling.

She said the leaflets were distributed by the Philippine Army’s 80th Infantry Battalion and DepEd Rizal. Using comic strips, it showed how students could avoid “recruiters of the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army)” who may be spotted in rallies, “teaching us to be angry at the government.”

“After that Supreme Court decision, we anticipated that the government would finally, finally end this kind of practice, but they are still doing it, and it’s just disappointing,” Quetua added.

He said they would soon file a complaint with the CHR, adding that they would also check if the distribution of such leaflets were also happening elsewhere.

No group targeted

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), however, denied the group’s accusation, saying “a careful perusal and review of the said pamphlets [would] easily prove that there [was] no ‘Red tagging’ in the said materials.”

It added that it did not target any organization, “it merely informed the students of the modus operandi of recruiters of the New People’s Army, which is factual and based on evidence.”

According to NTF-Elcac, the 80th Infantry Battalion held the seminar as part of a civic education program to raise awareness of national security threats and promote patriotism among the youth, in line with a memorandum of agreement between it and DepEd.

“[These] seminars provided factual information that allows the youth to make informed decisions affecting their lives. The seminars were conducted transparently with the consent and cooperation of the Division of Rizal and attendance was voluntary.