SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
Anne Marxe D. Umil writes about the increasing vilification of activists, organizers, community leaders, and human rights advocates by the government in the form of “red tagging” by tagging certain groups and people as being communists or members of the New People’s Army:
In a round table discussion held last Sept. 11, Rhoda Dalang, executive director of Dinteg or the Cordillera Indigenous People’s Legal Center , said political vilification of individuals and groups is not innocuous as it precedes grave attacks on people and their rights such as extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance, political arrest and detention, among others.
Dalang said vilification of individuals and groups is a form of human rights violation committed by state security forces and government officials against political groups, communities, and individuals with the intent of spreading and promoting the belief that the targets of the vilification campaign are terrorists, enemies of the state or supporter or fronts of these to justify killing, abducting, or imprisoning them.
“Political vilification popularly known as red-baiting or labeling has assumed a different viciousness in the course of the US-sponsored war on terrorism,” Dalang said. “It has become more widespread, systematic and intense, with the red-labeling of individuals and groups as communist terrorists, terrorists, enemies of the state being applied similarly to both armed and unarmed political opposition groups.”
[UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions Prof. Philip Alston] reported in detail that the counterinsurgency strategy includes dismantling ‘fronts’ of the CPP-NPA-NDFP through a combination of public vilification and operational measures such as extrajudicial killings,” Dalang said. The widest form of vilification is the public showing of the AFP power point presentation ‘Knowing the Enemy’ where numerous organizations were listed as fronts of the Communist Part of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA) –National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Two foreign missionaries, both staunch advocates of indigenous peoples rights, were politically vilified before they were killed by suspected state security forces. Dutch missionary Willem Geertman, an anti-mining advocate, was accused of being a leader of the CPP and NPA by the 48th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio, an Italian priest who helped in establishing 60 alternative learning schools for Lumad children in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato was also accused of being a member of the NPA.
National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) general secretary Rev. Fr. Rex Reyes said vilification goes beyond name–calling. “It can also be considered as a death sentence.”