MANILA — Groups representing health workers, government workers, and teachers on Friday trooped to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) office to file a complaint against alleged red tagging by government's controversial anti-insurgency task force.
Members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Alliance of Health Workers (AHW), and Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) said they felt "demoralized" when the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) supposedly linked them to the communist movement.
AHW national president Robert Mendoza said the demoralization caused by NTF-ELCAC has affected their duties as health workers and frontliners in the pandemic.
"Sinabi ni President Duterte na ang health workers ay tinatawag nating bagong bayani sa panahon ng pandemya, subalit ano ang sinasabi ng mga kasamahan natin sa gobyerno, nire-redtag ng NTF-ELCAC, so magkasalungat... Ang health workers instead na magbigay ng tamang serbisyo sa ating mga pasyente, nade-demoralize," he said.
(President Duterte calls us new heroes but some members of NTF-ELCAC are red tagging us. That is affecting our work as health care providers.)
Some teachers have also felt the emotional toll of being accused as members of the armed communist movement, according to ACT.
"Malaki ang nagiging problema sa pagharap sa online class sa mga estudyante, pero dinadagdag pa nila ito. Ang nais namin ay pagbibigay ng mataas na sahod, pagbibigay ng agarang benepisyo subalit ito ang binabalik nila, ito ang sinusukli nila," said ACT-NCR's Annariza Alzate.
(Conducting online classes for students is already hard enough but the red tagging by NTF-ELCAC is making it even more difficult. We want higher wages, additional benefits, but this is what we're getting from the government.)
Government workers, meanwhile, slammed NTF-ELCAC for their "ignorance" on what acts violate human rights, such as red tagging.
"Kung ang mga nasa security sector ay hindi alam kung ano ang batas sa karapatang pantao, eh ano po ang pinoprotektahan nila?" said COURAGE Secretary General Manuel Baclagon.
(If those in the security sector are ignorant about human rights, then who are they protecting?)
The 3 complainants also met with CHR chairman Chito Gascon, who affirmed their position that red tagging is illegal.
“Actually pumabor na po sila by saying na ilegal ang red-tagging na ginagawa," Baclagon noted.
The groups, joined by ACT Teachers patry-list Rep. France Castro, also staged a protest outside the CHR office to condemn the red tagging.
NTF-ELCAC, particularly its spokespersons Lorraine Badoy and Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, are once again in hot water for accusing organizers of community pantries of links with the communist movement.
Parlade also compared the Maginhawa community pantry founder to Satan, forcing some senators to call for his resignation and the defunding of the anti-insurgency task force.