Tell it to SunStar: Red-tagging by any other name

AN ARTISTS group slammed Antonio Parlade’s condescending statement on actress Liza Soberano as a shameful example of red-tagging instigated by a public official.

In a public statement, Parlade warned others not to red-tag Liza as it is “not fair” and she has to be “protected in the exercise of her rights.” This is followed by a warning to Liza not to go the way of other progressive women and their organizations. In the end he asks and answers his own question: “Is she an NPA [New People’s Army]? No, of course not. Not yet.”

This leap of logic is not a statement of concern for Liza’s rights. It is another way of intimidation and red-tagging, plain and simple. Parlade should retract his statement and apologize immediately to Liza Soberano, Catriona Gray, Gabriela Youth, the Colmenares sisters Ella and Angel, Rep. Arlene Brosas, and Gabriela Women’s Party—all those who he enumerated as women to watch out for.

As Lisa Ito, Concerned Artists of the Philippines secretary-general, said, “We support Liza Soberano’s right to speak out and engage with causes and advocacies. Freedom of expression, speech and redress are all constitutional rights that must be defended against the vilest of attacks.”

Women and the LGBTQ+ community are among the sectors hard hit by the Duterte regime’s attacks and impunity; this latest statement only reflects that. Fortunately, most women know better than to fall for such tricks and are braver in the face of such threats.

Celebrities are being targeted for speaking out against the vile Terror Law, censorship, and the ABS-CBN shutdown, and many more. They should not be censured for rightly taking a stand as artists and concerned citizens outraged at the wrongdoings, callousness, and brutality of this regime. Hands off artists!


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