Only in the Philippines

“Only in the Philippines do commies refuse to be tagged as Reds.

In recent years, the use of “red-tagging” has become widespread in the Philippines, and many human rights organizations and activists have accused the government of employing it as a means of suppressing dissent and political opposition.

More often, we come across human rights defenders, labor organizations, student groups, members of the urban poor sector, and non-government organizations critical of the government’s policies and actions or with alleged communist links complaining of being red-tagged.

What exactly is this overused “red-tagging” word? It describes the practice of labeling individuals or groups as communist or leftist, often without evidence or justification to discredit or intimidate them. Clearly, the absence of evidence qualifies for red-tagging.

How about if it is validated and substantiated with evidence?

Former communist cadre Ka Eric said there is no such thing as red-tagging. It is rather a truthful exposition that reveals the true color of the Communist Party of the Philippines — New People’s Army  — National Democratic Front and their front organizations that are infiltrating and operating in the urban areas.

For the Legal Cooperation Cluster of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, leftist groups continuously put fire to the alleged “red-tagging” issue.

After having sufficiently addressed the allegations of these critics in its legal advisories and press statements, the LCC said it is “heart-rending that these leftist groups had romanticized this term to the detriment of our patriotic government officials, who selflessly serve for the Republic and its people”.

Google and Wikipedia may have their definition of red-tagging but LCC, a group of government lawyers, insists there is no legal definition for the alleged “red-tagging” term created by malicious fronts.

“Instead, what is defined but only in a dissenting opinion which is not a source of law, is red-baiting, as a phenomenon of implicating progressive civil group leaders to heinous crimes or the alleged “vilification”, “labeling”, or “guilt association” of various democratic organizations that are allegedly stereotyped or caricatured by the military as communist groups,” the LCC said.

Atty. Juan Ponce Enrile, Chief Legal Counsel of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., gave a witty and sensible comment about red-tagging.

“Red-tagging is their own doing. If you are a communist, you practice communism, then why are you ashamed of being called a communist?”

Back in the days, before the Revolutions of 1989 brought down most of the communist states, commies in other countries were proud to be called one but they don’t kill people.

The governing parties of China, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, and to some degree, North Korea, continue to uphold communism as their official ideology.

Only in the Philippines do commies refuse to be tagged as Reds. Does the shame stem from the hundreds of thousands of people killed? Bright future of young students shattered? Lowly farmers and indigenous peoples deprived of human rights? Millions of pesos extorted from businesses?

Could they be just among the many communist opportunists whom JPE said ride on the ideology to become powerful?

“They just want power. Most do not believe in the ideology. Others come in so they can extort money. And they become bodyguards of crooked politicians,” he said. “Undeniably, that exists.”

Protecting national security and maintaining law and order is the government’s responsibility. Accusing individuals or groups of wrongdoing without evidence or justification is not its cup of tea, but truth-tagging is.

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