Partylist groups brace for more ‘red-tagging’
Zarate also noted that since 2001, of the more than a thousand victims of extrajudicial killings especially during the regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, “majority of those killed were either leaders or members or supporters of Bayan Muna.”
By ALEX D. LOPEZ
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Vilification and red-tagging against progressive party-lists are expected to heighten come the 2013 midterm election.
This was expressed by lawyer Carlos Isagani Zarate, the second nominee of Bayan Muna Party on Tuesday in a press briefing here by the Makabayan Coalition, an aggrupation of progressive partylist organizations and also a political party.
Zarate said that during elections, members of Makabayan Coalition are the targets of attacks of the campaign to demonize and discredit progressive candidates and party-lists.
He also noted that since 2001, of the more than a thousand victims of extrajudicial killings especially during the regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, “majority of those killed were either leaders or members or supporters of Bayan Muna.”
“But we are already prepared for this,” Zarate said, adding that Bayan Muna is asserting its legitimacy as a party-list organization.
The Makabayan Coalition is composed of progressive partylists namely, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women’s Party, Kabataan Party-list, Katribu, Act-Teachers, Migrante and Piston. These partylists are accredited by the Commission on Elections to participate in next year’s election.
Two more party-list groups have pending approval with cases still up in the Supreme Court. These are Courage which represents government employees and Kalikasan which aims to represent the poorest sectors as predominantly victimized by environmental deterioration and tragedies.
Months before the 2013 election, the Kabataan Partylist (KP) already fell victim to the military’s demonization.
Penelope Palma-Gil, coordinator of KP in Davao City, revealed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has vilified KP and its leaders during the youth summit the AFP facilitated last October 28 to 30.
She said that some youths who participated in the AFP summit reported to them that “during the activity the military specifically pinpointed KP as a front organization of the communist rebels and urged the participants not to join the group.”
“AFP’s black propaganda against KP even reaches school premises, a situation that bothered us,” Palma-Gil complained.
She stressed that KP is a legitimate party-list organization which represents the youth and students in Congress.
Meanwhile, Ariel Casilao, Makabayan Coalition’s regional coordinator in Davao, said the progressive groups have already anticipated red tagging, vilifications, harassments and even physical elimination.
“But we are into strong vigilance, commitment and have unified our efforts to frustrate such moves and attempts against our ranks,” Casilao said.
He added Makabayan will watch more closely such destructive moves especially in the upcoming 2013 elections. He recalled that groups who are out to destroy Makabayan have already succeeded in the 2010 elections.
“Both Satur Ocampo and Lisa Maza lost in their senatorial bids in 2010. Now, they wanted to replicate their massive campaign to demonize and vilify Makabayan in order to frustrate and scare the voters,” Casilao said.
On the 2013 elections, Makabayan fields its lone senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño while its partylists will seek another term in the House of Representatives. (Alex D. Lopez/davaotoday.com)