“This is a very welcome development in the people’s fight against state-sponsored red-tagging and human rights violations. We are hoping for the approval of this measure. Farmers will lobby for the passage of this bill,” according to Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.
KMP is among the progressive organizations being red-tagged by the NTF-ELCAC, AFP, PNP, CIDG. “Many of our leaders and members who were subjected to red-tagging were either extrajudicially killed, illegally arrested, and charged with trumped-up non-bailable charges. Red-tagging kills. We want masterminds of red-tagging to be held accountable accordingly.”
The proposed measure filed on March 24, defines red-tagging as “the act of labeling, vilifying, branding, naming, accusing, harassing, persecuting, stereotyping or caricaturing individuals, groups or organizations as state enemies, left-leaning subversives, communists or terrorists, or as part of counter-insurgency, or anti-terrorism strategy or program, by any state actor such as law enforcement agent, paramilitary or military personnel.”
The Senate Bill also seeks a penalty of ten (10) years imprisonment and perpetual absolute disqualification to hold public office for violators.
Stop red-tagging farmers and peasant leaders
KMP said peasant leaders have been consistently red-tagged, harassed, and persecuted. Active KMP and Anakpawis members are often branded and red-tagged as members of Milisyang Bayan.
Among them include Isabelo Adviento, leader of DANGGAYAN-KMP whose house was raided on December 2, 2020. The latest casualty of red-tagging was Anakpawis Cagayan leader Calixto Cabildo who was illegally arrested last night by PNP-CIDG elements. Before his arrest on March 24, Cabildo became a regular target of red-tagging and harassment. For several instances, military and police intelligence agents have threatened Cabildo to ‘surrender’ and work with them to give information about Anakpawis’ activities. State intelligence agents identified as Kenneth Javier and Eduard Andres subjected Cabildo to constant harassment. Cabildo was also a former barangay chairman of Barangay Manalo, Amulung town in Cagayan.
In 2020, Cabildo asserted that his work and activities as coordinator of Anakpawis Cagayan are within the bounds of legal activities such as mobilizations, protest-dialogues, and relief operations. As a peasant leader, Cabilo is also helping in campaigns for the increase in farmgate prices of corn, lowering of land rent rates, condonation of interests of farmers’ loans in times of calamities, and genuine land reform. Cabildo said they are holding legitimate protests in DAR, DENR, and negotiations with local traders regarding farmers’ demands.