Duterte Youth dared: Don't be an instrument for red-tagging


Posted at Apr 10 2019 11:51 AM

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MANILA - A party-list group composed of young supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte should not allow itself to be an instrument for linking the youth to armed communist rebels, the incumbent representative of a youth group said Wednesday.

The Duterte Youth Party-list, which is endorsed by National Youth Commission Chairman Ronald Cardema, should instead strive to voice the sector's concerns, such as drug war casualties, free education, high prices of goods, and transportation if it wishes to be elected to the House of Representatives, said Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago.

"They should not be an instrument on the attacks against the youth and the students kasi mabigat at napakamapanganib nung nangyayari na red-tagging," she told ANC's Early Edition.

"Nagle-legitimize 'yan ng mga attacks sa kanila. Ngayon pa lang, nakakaranas na ang kabataan na nagbibigay ng boses sa mga policy ng administration ng threats, ng harassment, intimidation (dahil sa) ganyan na dinidikit 'yung pagpapakita ng critical and legitimate dissent sa may armas na grupo," she said.

(They should not be an instrument of the attacks against the youth and the students because red-tagging is serious and dangerous. That legitimizes the attacks on them. Even today, the youth who criticize the administration's policies receive threats, harassment, intimidation because critical and legitimate dissent are being linked to armed groups.)

If elected to a fresh term in Congress, Elago said Kabataan Party-list will propose amendments to the Free Tuition Act to also cure the "structural ills of the education system," including eradication of corruption and subsidized fees for all further studies too.

Duterte Youth or the Duty to Energize the Republic through the Enlightenment of the Youth Sectoral Party-list Organization, wants to defend government troops from insurgents and groups that are vocal in denouncing them.

The group, which lists anti-insurgency as an advocacy, said the Reserve Officers Training Corps program should be made mandatory for college students while the Citizenship Advancement Training should be required for high school students.

Cardema, who is chairman of the party while also serving as chairman of the NYC, drew flak earlier this year for saying students participating in anti-state protests, especially those allied with communist rebels, should lose their scholarships.

He later clarified his statement, saying he only pertained to government scholars linked to rebel groups.

This prompted Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Justice Sec. Menardo Guevarra to say students who voice dissent against government policies should not have their scholarships in state universities revoked as it would be a restraint to their freedom of speech and expression.