ADVOCATES are asking Cordillera police to stop red tagging.
In a dialogue between people’s organizations and the Municipal Police Station (MPS) of Sagada held at the Municipal Hall of Sagada, Mountain Province, representatives from people’s organizations demanded rectification from highland cops for listing organizations as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and recruiters of the New People’s Army (NPA) in l flyers distributed in Sagada town weeks ago.
Windel Bolinget, CPA chairperson Sagada MPS, should differentiate the CPP-NPA and civilian organizations.
“Our organizations are neither members of the CPP nor recruiters of the New People’s Army. Labeling our organizations as fronts of the CPP and NPA recruiters is red-tagging, political vilification and is putting our security and lives in danger. The flyers and Facebook posts circulated by the MPS are making us open targets that could lead to extrajudicial killings if not corrected,” Bolinget said.
Senior Inspector Basilio Hopdayan, Sagada MPS chief of police, denied the flyers is an act of red-tagging and explained the purpose of the leaflets was to warn the organizations they may be used or allowing their organizations to be used by the CPP-NPA-NDF.
“We do not owe a public apology because we are following a directive and we have basis for what we did,” Hopdayan added.
The people’s organization representatives have demanded a public apology from Sagada police for tagging them as CPP fronts.
The flyers showed text saying “Deceptive Recruitment of CPP-NPA Terrorists” and has listed Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), Innabuyog, Gabriela, Mountain Province Research Development, Inayan Watch, APIT TAKO Montanosa, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Katribu, Bayan Muna Partylist and other progressive people’s organizations as “some of the organizations that are being used or fronts of the CPP” in recruiting members of the NPA and National Democratic Front (NDF).
“To rectify this mistake, Sagada MPS should issue a public apology. The posts of MPS at Facebook and other social media bearing the same message should be taken down. The local government unit should also pass an ordinance denouncing extrajudicial killings and for peace, and to prevent red-tagging and political vilification of people’s organizations,” Bolinget said.
Major Jerry Haduca of the Mountain Province Police Provincial Office meanwhile apologized to the people’s organizations and said they will correct what is wrong.
He further said that they were not able to guard the issuance and distribution of the flyers and that they verify the sources of the information and will correct this.
“We welcome the provincial PNP’s apology and will be following-up on their commitment to look into the MPS’ flyer and correct it. The Sagada MPS must stop red-tagging and politically vilifying people’s organizations and creating confusion and fear in Sagada communities. Sagada MPS owes us a public apology,” Bolinget said.
The dialogue was attended by 92 participants, including Sagada Mayor James Pooten, members of the municipal council, barangay officials, church ministers, Municipal Police Station of Sagada, residents of Sagada, representatives of the 54th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, and members of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), Innabuyog-Gabriela, Montanosa Research and Development Center (MRDC), Inayan Watch, APIT TAKO Montanosa, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Katribu and Bayan Muna Party-list.