Militants hit Army’s ‘red-baiting’ activities

Aug. 04, 2017

ACTIVISTS. (Left to Right) Kilusang Mayo Uno Southern Mindanao Region Secretary General Carlo Olalo, Tony Salube, spokesperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Southern Mindanao Region, and May Ann Sapar of Gabriela, Southern Mindanao Region call for the lifting of Martial Law, and the resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front in a press conference on Friday, July 4 in Davao City. (Paulo C. Rizal/

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Progressive groups here condemned the surge of different forms of red-baiting, which have become more ​conspicuous after President Rodrigo Duterte recently terminated the peace talks, and declared an all-out war against the New People’s Army.

Jay Apiag, secretary general of Karapatan Southern Mindanao Region
​pointed at the proliferation of posters ​that linked their group, as well as ​those of ​partylists Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and Gabriela of being supporters of the communists.

Apiag said these accusations
​were ​not new, but ​warned that they endanger ​the lives of ​activists ​”​who become targets of extrajudicial killings, abductions, and trumped up charges​”​.

He said the accusations also “desensitize” the public, because such propaganda, in the eyes of the public, would justify the deaths and arrests of activists.

Apiag said no one else, but the military is responsible for the vilification of activists.

Gabriela Southern Mindanao Region Secretary General May Ann Sapar said the ​Army is targeting civilians
​”​because it cannot crush their real enemies​.”

“Ginasayang nila ang pondo nga gibutang sa gobyerno para sa ilang pagpaniktik, sa ilang intelligence, kay wala silay klarong data nga nakuha para maundang ang terorismo diri sa atong nasud Pilipinas (They are wasting their intelligence fund for their surveillance activities because they have not gathered data that would put a stop to terrorism in the Philippines),” she added.

Farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas also condemned the recently extended Martial Law in Mindanao.

KMP Southern Mindanao Region Secretary General Tony Salubre said farmers have been victims of human rights violations even before Martial Law came into effect.

The declaration, Salubre said, only worsened the situation because it was now legal to detain suspected NPA members even without arrest warrants.

Instead of funding an all-out war campaign against the NPA, Salubre said President Rodrigo Duterte should resume the peace talks to ensure the passage of reforms, such as agrarian reform and national industrialization.

“Hangtod dili mapatuman ang tinuod nga repormang agraryo, bisan pag unang klaseng all out war ang buhaton, pila na ka admin ang nanglabay, kada admin nanglabay, naay all out war, pero ang mga nagbarog alang sa tinuod nga repormang agraryo, hangtod karon nagabarog (It doesn’t matter what kind of war this administration will wage. So many past administrations have waged all out wars. Those who fight for agrarian reform will remain standing no matter what),” he added.

Meanwhile, army spokesperson Capt. Ryan Batchar denied accusations that they were behind the posters, but maintained that the connection of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the accused groups were “common knowledge.”

“It is a fact and known to people that they are [National Democratic Front Southern Mindanao Region] organization/s. They are legal fronts of the communist party,” Batchar told Davao Today in a text message.

“We do not or did not red tag them. Those posters are not from the military. It might have been placed by concerned citizens,” he said. (

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