'Tokhang' vs. activists 'patently illegal': Bayan


Posted at Aug 30 2021 09:40 AM

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MANILA – An activist has slammed as "patently illegal" the resolution of the Cordillera Regional Peace and Order Council (CPROC) implementing a "tokhang'"- style approach against alleged leftists, activists, and rights workers in the region.

Last week, the CPROC approved the implementation of “Dumanun Makitungtong” (Ilocano for “Visit and Discuss) against "known members of left-leaning organizations."

“That resolution is patently illegal. First, the very title. They’re going around to visit members of ‘known Communist front organizations.’ What are your parameters for saying that this person is a known member of a Communist front organization? How would you determine what a communist front organization is? By whose say so?” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said.

“This is red tagging being institutionalized and this is red-tagging going house-to-house,” he added. 

He noted that this is more dangerous than red tagging done on social media.

“That is very, very dangerous and that violated presumption of innocence, that violates freedom of association.”

Reyes also hit Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar for backing the Cordillera resolution.

On Tuesday, the country’s top cop was reported to have said “better ideas” are needed in fighting the communist insurgency in the Philippines.

But he took a 180-degree turn merely hours after, saying the PNP will “provide assistance in a way that will strike a balance between our collective goal of defeating the CPP-NPA-NDF and our commitment to respect and uphold the basic human rights of every Filipino.”

He also instructed Cordillera Police chief Ronald Lee to coordinate with local officials in implementing the resolution.

“The resolution itself is very vague. How they will implement it is very vague. So can General Eleazar guarantee that human rights will not be violated when they implement this? And is he willing to resign the moment human rights violations take place?” Reyes said. 

“What happens if the person they visited does not want to cooperate? Will he be killed after? Will they send in the death squads after? Kasi he’s already been marked eh, he’s been identified as a supporter? So does that mean that he will be killed if he does not cooperate?” he added.

--ANC, 30 August 2021