Opinion: Red-Tagging could happen to you

Just as the Philippines government are red tagging people. This as part of their activities to hurt the New People’s Army (NPA) and the whole CPP-NPA. It is natural that the government and the army is working to dismantle the insurgency of the communist army in the Republic. That is all natural.

However, the tool of red tagging of people might hit the public wrongly. As it is proven that loud activists and “non-associated” people with the CPP-NPA have been targeted by state this way. They have been wire-tapped and monitored. The people could easily be detained without warrants, restricted travels, examinations of bank accounts and seizure of assets. That is the powers the state takes if they have red tagged you.

If that is done wrongly, then the state has the powers of deeming you associated, connected or abating terrorists. That the state works to stop terrorism and organizations is all natural. That is to safeguard the public and the citizens from the dangers of extremists. However, the red tagging might not work for its purpose.

Especially, when there is knowledge and been reported that the activists who has spoken out against gender violence. There even been in the past where the government has gone after supposed “front-groups” of the CPP-NPA without any basis or claim. Where they could not identify the association or accessory to it. Therefore, undermining its own efforts. Targeting individuals and organizations without basis to do so. Just to justify their efforts against terrorism.

The red tagging has even gone as far as targeting outspoken celebrities. These have gotten bad mouthed and been listed. Because they dared to speak out against the government stance. Which by the act of doing so isn’t abiding or association with terrorism, but just using their free speech to speak their minds.

Just like the red tagging is easily applied on other civil society organization and non-governmental organizations. Which in the end would target the ones who works against government policy and therefore, easily deemed fit for the programme. Then the program is more of a tagging the ones daring to speak out against it, then for the purpose of labelling the ones who is associated with the CPP-NPA.

So, the idea itself to identify and label terrorist and the ones associated isn’t that bad. That has been done by governments since forever. However, targeting all left-wing and outspoken critics of the government. That is a bad look, as most of them is most likely not associated with the groups in question. They are not financially backing them or supporting in any fashion. Only because of a inkling of “red” and the state can use their powers to suffocate you. Take away your freedom and liberties. Destroy your image and your livelihood.

If these folks are supporting the CPP-NPA it is understandable. As the state is working to destroy and annihilate this threat to the Republic. That if someone would use their time, effort and machinery to support the CPP-NPA. This makes sense and I can understand the actions made. So, that these folks doesn’t get support or help from outside forces. However, the red tagging might cover a broad spectrum of people, than just these ones.

That is the problem with it. This can be used to muffle critics and CSO’s who works in good spirit, but not always following the state or its objectives. Because, they work after other charters and ideas for a better society. That is how things has always been. Someone on the front-line being revolutionary, being radical, but later will deemed as a normal thought. That’s because of the ideals and political standpoints. Which today might differ from the state, but later would be deemed as reasonable. Therefore, the red tagging might target these folks, instead of the ones supporting terrorists.

That is the whole problem and why we got to discuss it. Since this isn’t making the Republic better, but instead making it easier to silence critics. Which isn’t a sign of strength, but a sign of weakness. Peace.

Phillippines: National Security Council (NSC) – Jevilyn Cullamat was a Victim of the Armed Movement We Condemn, Not a Martyr Whose Death is to be Romanticized (01.12.2020)

Philippines: National Security Council – To the Makabayan Bloc: It is not our duty to coddle armed rebellion, our duty as government officials is to protect Filipinos and uphold 1987 Constitution (25.11.2020)

Philippines: Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Babies Have Rigths (16.10.2020)

Philippines: Kagawaran ng Katungan – Anti-Terrorism Council – Press Statement (14.10.2020)

Philippines: National Security Council – The P16,44 B Barangay Development Program is meant to Empower Communities Suffering from the Violence of the NPA (30.09.2020)

Philippines: National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) – Insted of postponing elections, let us make sure that they happen, even during a pandemic (25.09.2020)

Philippines: Duterte’s inconsistency…

Well, it is about that time. When you can show to the fact that someone has a strong opinion and uses massive force against certain people, but when the buck stops. The person changes totally. For God knows what reasons, but usually monetary gains is the long-term perspective for why.

In this instance, it’s the hypocrisy and the double standard from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. The President has used the law enforcement and the army to kill, destroy and detain the cartels, the drug-smuggling rings and the addicts as well. He has used extra judicial killings and went after these criminals with brutal during his reign.

The same man has also been very vocal about his disdain on the matter of independence and sovereign as a state and would not accept interference from other states on its behalf. Especially, in concern to this violent crackdown and the use of force against criminal civilians. However, now … his issuing a pardon to a soldier, a U.S. Marine who has committed a homicide or a murder in the Republic.

This is from the same President that went on a warpath against a nun, who dared to question his moral authority. The same man that has accepted to criminalize a certain aspect of society and deemed it fit to kill them without a trial. The same person is now pardoning Joseph Scott Pemberton with an absolute pardon.

That amazes me and the double standard is obvious. Because, if this man wasn’t a soldier, a U.S. Citizen and someone with suction within the army. There would be nowhere in hell that he would walk free after this. He would answer to the courts of law and would be in deep trouble. Because, he took a life and killed another civilian. That’s what the soldier did. Killed a Filipina in cold blood and his getting away it.

That should be a thing. It shouldn’t’ have happened, but not that it has occurred, and the life is taken. The soldier should at least answer for it and be tried in courts. That is, if life has any value and people are subjects under the same law. The soldier has done something illegal and beyond his jurisdiction. He has committed a crime, just like the criminals selling drugs. So, if the President should be fair. He should be killed to in the streets like thief and a drug-dealer. Alas, this man is walking free. Just because he has a US Passport and is part of the US Army.

This is all just to do a friendly political move towards the US. So, that the Trump Administration can free one of their own and send the private home. To be an example of good graces and show how much power the US still have globally. Since, they could free a man who was detained rightfully for homicide. Still, that life didn’t matter to Duterte nor the US.

Pemberton is now the epitome of injustice. He walks away from the burden of answering from his crimes. Since, his is possibly a bargain chip in a political gambit of the President and his administration. While the remaining family of the deceased will never see the return of the family member that got murdered. That is the injustice in this.

This is all happening from the same President who has no issues taking lives and using extra judicial killings as a method to stop drug cartels. The same man clearly should see the double standard and as the mischief this is. As he issues a pardon for homicide.

There shouldn’t be vindication for this, as the victim cannot be returned, and the damage is indefinitely. If life matters, if justice matters, he should answer for it. Just like any other criminal, but instead because of circumstances. He gets off easy and with very little cost. Peace.

Philippines: Archdiocese of Manila’s Clergy Statement against the Re-imposition of Death Penalty (04.08.2020)

SONA 2020: Duterte wants to reach Betlehem before December…

Well, I cannot manage to look into all the details of the State of the Nation Address. Like I did two years ago, I will address the Telecommunication. Two years ago he promised to do something about the duopoly of Globe and Smart. However, President Rodrigo Duterte have reached that goal, but for whatever reason. There is still just two companies running the game and the others trying to follow their speed.

So, I will show one quote from last year and show what he said this year.

In SONA 2018 he said this:

My administration remains firm in its resolve to ensure that the country’s telecommunications services are reliable, inexpensive and secure. A draft Terms of Reference for the entry of a new, major industry player is at hand. The terms will be fair, reasonable and comprehensive. It will be inclusive so it will be open to all interested private parties, both foreign and local” (Rodrigo Duterte SONA 2018, 23.07.2018).

This year he said this:

I call on our [telecommunication] companies to improve their services lest we be forced to take drastic steps to address the less-than-ideal service that the public is getting from you. Alam mo sisingit na lang ako dito. I am… Sometimes we are a government pictured to be weak and incompetent because we cannot really force our mandate. Alam mo itong nagbibigay ng mga public services, you better improve” (…) “If it’s just a question of added capitalization or the infusion of money, go and look for it” (…) “we are a republic, a sovereign country, bear that in mind because the patience of the Filipino people is reaching its limit. At I will be the one to articulate the anger of the Filipino people. And you might not want what I intend to do with you. Kindly improve the services before December. I want to call Jesus Christ to Bethlehem. Better have that line cleared. [applause]” (…) “Tell us now if you cannot really improve on it because I will work by December. I have two years. The next two years will be spent improving the telecommunications of this country without you. I will find a way. I will talk to Congress and find a way how to do it. [applause]” (Rodrigo Duterte SONA 2020, 27.07.2020).

However, there been changes to the duopoly, but with no significant results. That why his focus is on the service and how reliable the telecommunication companies are. This shows that there is no magic wand to this and someone cannot just set up shop to elevate the market.

We have seen that DITO and Mislatel, who were both newcomers to the market have no range or capacity. Maybe, not strong enough ability to sway users from the old ones. As the President only mentions the two old companies. It is still a landscape controlled by Globe and Smart. That is why the President is bugging out about their services.

That’s maybe why he wants the two whose already operating to do it better. These have the ability to get away with it. Since, the customers are there and really it is not abundant of choices. They own the market and therefore, they put the standards and the needed work in. However, they don’t need to push it. In some ways they are alone. Since the people have not changed from their old ones or its to costly to become subscriber to the new services.

Globe and Smart can play this one out. I think Globe dropped a statement quickly after the SONA, but that was an act of defence, which is natural in the circumstances. The President talked about calling Bethlehem ahead of Christmas. I’m sure the Holy Spirit will guide him there. Because, I doubt the service will be revolutionized in the months ahead. Peace.