MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday expressed alarm over the military's accusation that several Metro Manila schools were becoming grounds for communist recruitment for the supposed "Red October" plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a statement, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said red-tagging schools and students may embolden the Armed Forces of the Philippines to suppress basic constitutional rights.
“This blanket act of red-tagging endangers students and the youth and it may give the AFP a license to arbitrarily infringe [on] the freedom of expression, the right to petition government, as well as to assembly,” de Guia said.
Military officials earlier claimed that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has been showing students in 18 Metro Manila schools videos of atrocities during the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to "incite students to rebel against the government."
The CHR also emphasized that there was nothing wrong with films on martial law being shown in schools as the Marcos regime was part of the country’s history.
“More importantly, it bears stressing that film showings of martial law should not in any way be deemed as subversive, especially because it is a part of our nation's history and an established fact, the teaching of which is required by various laws and, therefore, not illegal,” de Guia said.
Several schools in the list condemned the allegation and denied that any such recruitment was happening within their campus.