MANILA - A number of government workers' groups are also being red-tagged, according to their leaders.
The term-red tagging, according to human rights groups, is the state actors’ linking, alleging or pointing at certain personalities or organizations, as fronts of the rebel movement.
On Wednesday, a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) official echoed National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director General John Paul Monteagudo's accusation that the Senate workers' union S.E.N.A.D.O. is a front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“The NTF-ELCAC stands solidly behind the Director-General of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Alex Paul Monteagudo, when he says that COURAGE is a front of the CPP-NPA-NDF and that it functions as the ears and eyes of this terrorist group… to infiltrate the government and weaken it from within by radicalizing and then recruiting its innocent members who have no idea they are being used by this violent extremist group that pretends to fight for their rights but in fact, have no interest at all in bettering their working conditions,” NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Usec. Lorraine Badoy said during a live Facebook session.
“We, therefore, welcome with open arms the call of S.E.N.A.D.O. President and CPP-NPA-NDF operative Rosel Eugenio for a Senate investigation into this matter,” she claimed.
Eugenio, in a virtual press briefing, addressed Badoy’s allegations.
“Malinaw na hindi kilala nila Monteagudo at Badoy ang binabansagan nila na operatiba ng CPP-NDF-NPA. Tinawag niya ako bilang Mr. Eugenio. Intelligence report? Intelligence po ba? At accurate ito? Paano yung accuracy ng listahan ng ibibigay nila sa Senado upang paimbestigahan nila ang mga empleyadong ito? Sila ang dapat imbestigahan,” she said.
Aside from the Senate employees' union, other labor leaders in the judiciary, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the National Food Authority, are also allegedly being red-tagged.
“We do not advocate violence and armed conflict in our ranks and organizations. As court employees, we have taken our oath to the Constitution and our rule of law… Andiyan yung takot, at siyempre 'yung pangamba dun sa seguridad mo. Alam naman natin kung ano 'yung nangyayari sa mga nire-red tag,” Erwin Ocson, president of SCEA-JUDEA said.
“Hindi lang ngayon sa akin nangyari yang may pumupunta direkta sa opisina, inaakusahan na isa ako sa mga NPA na sumusuporta, pero walang katotohanan yun kasi ang ipinaglalaban namin yung benepisyo… Ngayon na naman etong red-tagging, kamakailan meron namang pumunta sa area ko para takutin na naman ako,” said Maria Thess Gonzales, president of KKK-MMDA.
“Ilang beses na akong dinalaw sa bahay para interbyuhin lang ng pulis. Nakatanggap na rin po ako ng isang anonymous letter na ako daw po ay miyembro ng CPP-NPA at kung hindi raw ako magbabago ay pagsisisihan ko yun,” Manny Baclagon, former president of DSWD Employees' Group, said.
Because of this threat, COURAGE – the union’s mother organization - is now asking the support and protection of local and international human rights and labor groups.
“Uulitin na rin po naming idulog ito sa international labor organization at lately, nagpa-submit na rin po through our employers sa Supreme Court dahil kami rin po ay petitioners sa anti-terror law,” said Santiago Dasmariñas, national adviser of NFA Employees' Association.
Several senators have taken the cudgels for S.E.N.A.D.O.
Senator Francis Pangilinan lashed out at NICA and NTF-ELCAC for picking on government employees.
“Mayroong 4 million Chinese nationals na pumasok dito since 2014, tapos yung tinututukan nila yung mga empleyado ng gobyerno? Bakit ganun? Yung maliliit, dinidiin nila. Pero yung dambuhalang nananakop ng Julian Felipe reef, ano na?” Pangilinan said.
Commissioner Aileen Lizada of Civil Service Commission, meanwhile, sees the allegations against some government employees as “a serious accusation."
“This is a serious accusation and it would be prudent and circumspect before we make any comments, to hear what NICA has to share, if NICA would be in a position to share what they know. It is good and sound to hear both sides on the matter po,” Lizada said in a text message,.