NORTHERN Dispatch managing editor Sherwin De Vera has been red tagged by police for covering a rally.
De Vera was logged by the Police Regional Office–Cordillera (PRO–COR) as a personality of a communist front organization (CFO) while covering a candle lighting ceremony for the Global Day of Action against United States (US) War on Iran, which calls for an end to US attacks on Iran.
In the PRO–COR Journal for January 24 to 26, a report from the Baguio City Police Office identifying the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA), Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), Innabuyog-Gabriela, Anakbayan, and the UP Student Council as CFOs.
These groups, among others, were participating in the Global Day of Action Against US War on Iran, which calls for an end to US attacks on Iran.
Other individuals identified by the police as CFO personalities are CPA secretary-general Sarah Dekdeken, Abi Taningco, Rolando Jugs Grande of Tongtongan, Christian Dave Ruz of Kabataan Party-list and Lumiere Garido.
The National Union of Journalists Baguio-Benguet chapter meanwhile condemned the inclusion De Vera in the police journal for January 24-26.
“In the document, the police tagged him as a personality of a communist front organization (CFO). By including De Vera in the report, the BCPO also tags Northern Dispatch, an established media outfit, where he works as managing editor,” the NUJP statement said.
Kathleen Okubo, chair of the NUJP Baguio Benguet added baseless allegations by state forces like this have already cost De Vera precious time and resources.
“He was jailed for trumped-charges of rebellion. The Department of Justice also included him in the unverified list of alleged Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army leaders (CPP-NPA), by including De Vera in the report, the BCPO also tags Northern Dispatch, an established media outfit, where he works as managing editor,” Okubo added.
“We want the BCPO and PROCOR to answer this question: “when did the coverage of rallies and protests become a crime or public disturbance that merits an entry in the police blotter? This incident is not the first time that BCPO has made an outright attack against journalists in Baguio. During the height of the protest against the quo warranto proceedings to remove CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno, the BCPO included in their report Aldwin Quitasol. They claimed in the report that he is part of the CNN-linked organizations holding the protest. CNN is an acronym the authorities use for CPP-NPA-NDFP,” the NUJP statement further reads.
Okubo meanwhile said red-tagging has no place in a democratic society, especially when directed against journalists who are fulfilling their responsibility to inform the people about events and issues.
“It is a Marcosian means of stifling dissent and freedom of expression that endangers the lives of journalists and their families. It is an attack on independent and truthful reporting, and an affront to the people’s right to know and Philippine democracy.”