By Jigger J. Jerusalem
SUPPORTERS of journalists accused of having ties to the communist movement are willing to take to the streets to express their indignation over the series of red-tagging incidents in the city in the past few months.
Local civil society leaders said they will march with the members of the press and other individuals and groups who have recently been red-tagged by yet-to-be identified perpetrators to show their support for those accused of being linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the New People’s Army.
Lawyer Beverly Musni, of the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPML), said they are in solidarity with the victims of red-tagging and will show it through participation in protest action.
In a text message, Musni said the union will join any event that would make public the indignation of the parties who have been red-tagged.
“For all the civilians under attack by vicious red-tagging, and so that there will be no more civilian to suffer its chilling effect, I will join any march organized to put an end to red-tagging,” the lady lawyer said.
Pamela Jay Orias, local chapter president of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, said in a separate interview that they will not hesitate to march alongside civil society organizations to condemn the series of red-tagging in the city.
“We are calling on the city’s media practitioners, even those who have not been red-tagged, to be with NUJP and other groups in protesting. Everyone must be involved,” Orias said.
In a previous interview, Roman Catholic Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, the head of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, said he will support any mass action that will condemn red-tagging.
“We will support that (protest action) as this also involves the reputation of people, as many of them are advocates for good governance and human rights promotion,” Ledesma said.
He said those responsible for the labeling of groups and individuals as Communists or terrorists are “endangering the lives of people that are subject of this red-tagging.”
Just recently, the city council of Cagayan de Oro, through Councilor Romeo Calizo, has begun discussion on the proposal submitted by Musni and other stakeholders to tackle red-tagging.
In the proposal, groups have petitioned the local government to declare Cagayan de Oro as “red-tag-free” city.