Joint appeal vs red-tagging reaches mayor, City Council

CAGAYAN DE ORO. Media organization, human rights groups, and religious sector leaders visit the office of Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno (left) Tuesday, August 6, 2019, to submit a joint appeal to protect them from red-tagging, and hoping the City Government will lead in putting a stop against the people behind accusing these leaders and its members as communist rebel sympathizers. (Nef Luczon)

GROUPS of lawyers, priests, human rights advocates, and media members filed a petition Tuesday, August 6, seeking the City Government's protection in relation to the continuous red-tagging against them.

Led by Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) bishop Felixberto Calang, the groups filed the petition to Mayor Oscar Moreno and the City Council.

The petitioners include the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), IFI, Union of People's Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM), Kadamay, and Makabayan-Northern Mindanao. All of them were subjects of red-tagging.

The joint petition aimed to stop the sustained red-tagging against the church, lawyers, and media for their alleged connection to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), lawyer Beverly Musni said.

Declaring the city as "red-tag free," petitioners prayed the condemnation of all forms of red-tagging and declaring it a criminal act, the investigation of red-tagging incidents, and the mobilization of police to remove streamers, banners, or posters of red-tagging.

The petitioners also asked for the creation of a human rights committee in the City Council.

But Moreno declined to issue a condemnation, saying he does not want to widen the gap between two parties.

Moreno instead proposed to put in place confidence-building measures among all the stakeholders involved.

"You build trust and confidence and I think both sides are willing to undertake that. Imbis nga atong palaparon ang intriga, ato nalang paduolon ang kasing-kasing sa tanan," he added.

Calang said the meeting with the mayor was "positive," but a statement condemning red-tagging could have been more helpful to red-tagged victims.

"It's not easy being linked to the left group, and a condemnation could have helped ease our anxieties. But we still appreciate the mayor kay naa man siyay iyang mga paagi pud to resolve this, we're looking forward for that," Calang said.


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