Dubious lumad FB page on red-tagging spree

Feb. 09, 2021

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The University of the Philippines Mindanao’s Student Council urged its administration to defend its constituents following recent red-tagging incidents against members of the university’s community.

Malicious memes were reported to have been posted on Kalumuran Mindanao Facebook page on February 6 naming Kabataan Partylist (KP) vice president for Mindanao and UPMin alumnus Jayvie Cabajes together with the deceased Salugpongan council member Datu Kaylo Bontolan as alleged recruiters of communist rebels at the sanctuary of lumad refugees inside the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran in Davao City.

Kalumuran Mindanao FB page accused the UCCP and UPMin for colluding on indoctrinating ‘’terrorism’’ to the lumad seeking refuge at UCCP Haran.

Following the report of the red-tagging incident against Cabajes, the UP Mindanao student publication, Himati, was also tagged in a post on February 8 as an “ally” of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CPP-NDF-NPA).

Both posts were deleted as of February 9.

The FB page of Kalumuran Mindanao does not provide clear information about its page, but the name seems to be a wordplay from the progressive indigenous people’s group Kalumaran sa Mindanao.

The UPMin University Student Council (USC) condemned such “baseless and false” accusations of Kalumuran Mindanao believed to be backed by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

“With no concrete and credible evidence to back their claims, this in turn will endanger the lives of the constituents of these institutions. We are not ignorant to the consequences of red-tagging and where these baseless accusations will lead to,” the UPMin Student Council said in its statement.

In another statement, alumni and residents of Himati, asserted that for years the publication has stood by its principles in reporting.

“Clearly, the government has sunk to the lowest of lows. How do they find dignity in attacking groups and individuals when the problem lies in their incapability in adhering to their mandated duty?” Himati said.

The UPMin Student Council said that these recent attacks provided more reason to uphold the UP-DND accord which was unilaterally abrogated by the Department of National Defense (DND) in January. The Student Council reiterated its call to defend the University from any moves the State employs to threaten and curtail their rights to dissent, defend academic and press freedom, and combat tyranny and dictatorship in all forms.

Cabajes said the lies peddled by this dubious FB page Kalumuran Mindanao endangers his life as well as the other activists like him who could be targeted next.

Apart from being KP vice president for Mindanao, Cabajes said he also serves as a volunteer math teacher for the lumad children at UCCP Haran.

“It is clear that Kalumuran Mindanao wants to insist that UP Mindanao and other legal organizations have connections to the CPP-NDF-NPA when there’s actually none. They just want to smear UP Mindanao to justify its objective to remove the UP-DND accord that is being pushed by the NTF-ELCAC,” Cabajes said. (davaotoday.com)

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