Castro and Manuel claim AFP, DepEd doing red-tagging

Castro, Manuel claim AFP and DepEd red-tagging by pamphlet distribution

NTF-Elcac says NPA recruitment is factual
/ 09:08 AM May 28, 2024

Solons claim AFP, DepEd doing red-tagging; NTF-Elcac says NPA recruitment is factual

ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro and Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel (PHOTOS FROM GRIG MONTEGRANDE/INQUIRER FILES/HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES/FACEBOOK PAGE

MANILA, Philippines — Two lawmakers from the House of Representatives Makabayan bloc have accused an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) battalion and the Department of Education (DepEd) of engaging in red-tagging when pamphlets were distributed near a school in Rizal province.

According to ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro and Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel, pamphlets labeling “students and youth as terrorists for opposing the government’s policies, especially Charter change and freedom for political prisoners” were distributed by DepEd and the 80th Infantry Battalion to students at the Taytay Senior High School.


Castro said this incident at the Taytay school goes against a recent Supreme Court ruling acknowledging the dangers red-tagging brings.


“This is a clear case of harassment and intimidation of our youth and a blatant disregard of the Supreme Court’s ruling that red-tagging is a dangerous practice that puts lives in peril. It is unacceptable that the military, and DepEd, in coordination with the NTF-Elcac (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict), is using taxpayers’ money to spread disinformation and terrorize our students,” Castro said.

“We urge Congress to expedite measures banning red-tagging and punishing those who engage in this heinous activity. The government should focus on providing quality education and protecting our youth, not spreading fear and misinformation,” she added.

READ: SC ruling on red-tagging also favors NTF-Elcac, official says 

Meanwhile, Manuel noted that the supposed red-tagging in Rizal contradicted President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s claims that the government would not engage in these activities.

“It is proof that what Marcos Jr. said, that the government does not lead red-tagging, is not true. In addition to that, Filipinos who do not agree with a pro-foreigner and a selfish Cha-cha can be immediately accused of being terrorists by the administration. Public funds are wasted if it goes to these red-tagging and terror-tagging seminars and pamphlets,” he said.

“The AFP, NTF-Elcac, and Marcos Jr. want the youth to blindly follow an anti-people rule. They want to destroy the youth’s ability to question and think critically,” he added.


But NTF-Elcac, in a statement hours after the two lawmakers made their claims, said that no red-tagging happened in the school mentioned.

Instead, the task force claims that the pamphlets never stated that rally attendees are terrorists, noting that the only thing they discussed was the recruitment being done by the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) which is still waging a guerrilla war on the countryside.

“We categorically refute the allegations made by the Kabataan and ACT Teachers party-lists regarding the distribution by the Armed Forces of the Philippines of supposedly “red-tagging” pamphlets which allegedly depicted rallyist as terrorists during a seminar held at Taytay Senior High School in Rizal,” NTF-Elcac said.

“A careful perusal and review of the said pamphlets will easily prove that there is no ‘red tagging’ in the said materials. Nowhere in the said materials does it characterize rallyists as terrorists. It merely informed the students of the modus operandi of recruiters of the [NPA], which is factual and based on evidence,” it added.

READ: ACT slams distribution of ‘Red-tagging’ leaflets

According to NTF-Elcac, the 80th Infantry Battalion’s seminar was part of a “civic education program aimed at raising awareness about national security threats and promoting patriotism among youth.”

“The seminar adhered to a Memorandum of Partnership with DepEd-Rizal to conduct information education campaigns for senior high school students in Rizal province. It aimed to provide them with knowledge of the indicators or red flags that they are being recruited by CPP-NPA organizers,” NTF-Elcac said.

“We strongly deny any accusations of “red-tagging.” The seminar in question focused only on NPA recruitment and did not target any other organization. Contrary to the claims made by the Kabataan and ACT Teachers party-list, these seminars provided factual information that allows the youth to make informed decisions affecting their lives,” it added.

However, both Castro and Manuel believe that the contents of the pamphlets are plain misinformation and can threaten democratic institutions.

“The recent incident in Rizal is a clear example of the dangers of red-tagging. It is a threat not only to our youth but also to our democracy. We will not tolerate this kind of harassment and intimidation. We will continue to fight for the rights of our students and our people,” Castro said.

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“These disinformation is poison to the minds and a threat to the lives of the youth. In accordance with the Supreme Court decision, we will study what legal action we can do, to investigate this and hold people accountable,” Manuel added.

TAGS: NTF-ELCAC, red-tagging

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