By JIGGER J. JERUSALEM, NITZ ARANCON
and JOEY NACALABAN
MEMBERS of the national directorate of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) met with Mayor Oscar Moreno and asked him to help in stopping the red tagging of the organization and journalists in the city.
Those who met with Moreno outside Cogon market on Saturday included NUJP chairman Jaime “Nonoy” Espina, secretary general Dabet Panelo, ABS-CBN News Public Service head and former NUJP chairperson Rowena Carranza Paraan, and media safety officer JB Deveza, among others. They were also joined by Red Batario of the Center of Community Journalism and Development.
NUJP-Cagayan de Oro chapter chairperson Pamela Jay Orias said the they were able to talk to Moreno regarding cases of threats and harassment involving journalists.
Orias said Moreno has assured NUJP officers that he would act on the complaint.
“He (Moreno) said the NUJP and the city government must work together to put a stop to this,” she said.
Orias said the NUJP has also asked the mayor to tap the police and village watchmen to arrest on site those responsible for hanging streamers, tarpaulins and similar materials with red tagging messages.
Moreno, who was with Vice Mayor Raineir Joaquin Uy, said law enforcers in the city should reprimand or if not, arrest those hanging red tagging materials in public.
But Moreno said the NUJP should provide him information about the people or groups behind the smear campaign.
Moreno said he would help the NUJP and asked it to send him a written complaint.
He also said he resented that he was not spared from a smear campaign on social media during the election period.
NUJP officers said they would closely coordinate with the mayor’s office even as it sought the support of the city council by officially denouncing the red tagging activities in the city.
Orias and Davao Today columnist Margarita Valle are among the latest victims of red tagging.
Orias, a reporter, was accused of being a sympathizer of the New People’s Army (NPA); a graphic depicting her and Valle as such was first posted on the Facebook page “Quiet No More PH” on Friday.
The post stated: “Warning: Beware of this people and organizations. They are protectors of the CPP-NPA terrorists.”
Aside from Orias and Valle, also red-tagged were the NUJP, Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao, Accord, and Rural Missionaries of the Philippines.
A few weeks ago, other journalists were tagged as communist supporters in a Facebook post from another page.
This May, streamers accusing NUJP and other organizations as NPA supporters were hang on the fence of the Press Freedom Monument.
Orias said the red tagging was clearly a shame campaign launched on social media.
“It’s baseless because I am not a protector of any communist group. My media organization, my friends, and family can vouch for me,” she told reporters at the sidelines of an NUJP-initiated forum here on Saturday.
She said the incident has already been reported to the Facebook administrator and she hopes the page would be removed immediately.