MANILA - Kabataan Party-list on Tuesday urged government to stop red-tagging the youth as it denied the claim of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade that he has invited them to a dialogue several times.
Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago said she was willing to meet Parlade "in court" as she has filed a complaint against him before the Office of the Ombudsman over the military official's "smear campaign."
"Enough is enough. Enough of the deadly practice of red-tagging," she told ANC's Headstart.
"Apektado dito ang mga miyembro ng Kabataan and all other outspoken youth students who only want to voice out their concerns and issues amid the pandemic and all societal issues."
(Members of the youth and other outspoken students who only want to voice out their concerns and issues amid the pandemic and all societal issues are affected.)
Elago said she has also filed several measures at the House of Representatives on the "red-tagging spree" of Parlade.
"We hope these resolutions, bills will be tackled the soonest so we can hold accountable all those behind red-tagging based on manipulated photos, fake quotation and all other vilification and smear campaigns affecting the right to free speech of the young people," she said.
Parlade, spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, in a separate interview with Headstart claimed he had invited the party-list for a dialogue or debate several times.
"Galit na galit sila sa akin, why? Kasi nasasaktan siguro sila sa mga katotohanan na sinasabi ko. I’m ready to face all those accusations," he said.
(They're angry at me, why? Because maybe they're hurt by the truth I say.)
"Ang dami ngang nagsasabi, bakit daw di na lang ako i-fire sa AFP (Many have said why not fire me from the AFP). Of course they can do that, they just have to ask the President or the chief-of-staff or the SND (Secretary of National Defense) to fire me. I’m ready to go. Anyway, I’m retiring by July."
Elago urged President Rodrigo Duterte to "sincerely address the roots of insurgency in our country--that is poverty, marginalization, sidelining of dissent."
"Malinaw din sa atin na kung papayagan ito ng Pangulo, talaga hindi matitigil kaya nanawagan at naniningil din tayo ng pananagutan mula sa Pangulo na chair ng NTF-ELCAC na itigil na ang red-tagging. This does not solve the issue of insurgency," she said.
(It's clear that if the President allow this, it will not stop so we ask for accountability from him as chair of the NTF-ELCAC to stop the red-tagging.)
"Sa gitna ng pandemya at matapos ang sunod-sunod na sakuna sa ating bansa, higit na kinakailangan na respetuhin natin ang boses ng kabataan, mamamayang Pilipino at wag natin lunurin ng red-tagging. Pakinggan natin ang panawagan sa ayuda, bakuna at ligtas na pagbabalik-eskuwela."
(In the middle of a pandemic and after consecutive disasters, we need to respect the voice of the youth and the Filipino people. Let us not drown them in red-tagging. Let's listen to calls for aid, vaccination and safe return to schools.)