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TURNING POINT: Red-tagging is Terrorism

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 9 Dec) – As mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Roa Duterte acknowledged the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as a political organization born of endemic poverty and oppression and admitted a modus vivendi with said entity with regard its de facto existence as a shadow government and even tolerated the collection by its members of revolutionary taxes and their punitive action against abusive capitalists. When he became President, Duterte began to change tune and has recently displayed so much anger and hatred against the local communists to the extent of legally labeling them as terrorists. Yet, in all this, he is enamored with Communist China, the undisputed original and primary exporter of communism to the Philippines.

He idolizes Xi Jinping and grovels to his wishes. His government welcomes with opened arms and opened legs Chinese communists from the mainland who come in droves to the country as tourists, workers and for other reasons the arrivals alone know. Their influx is greatly facilitated by a ridiculously loose visa policy, whereby the Chinese are allowed to apply for visa upon arrival in the port of entry, a special favor that has spawned untold corruption in the Bureau of Immigration.

Moreover, the Communist Chinese aggression in WPS is not stopped, and communist fishers are given a blind eye in their disastrous exploitation of the marine resources in the country’s exclusive economic zone.

This ambivalent stance, which is likely the regime’s quid pro quo to the various loans offered by China, does not augur well for the country. For one, this is discriminatory. While the migrant communists are allowed to stay here enjoying almost the same privileges and protection given by the government to its citizens, the local communists are persecuted and hunted as terrorists. Whereas, while an association with a communist from China makes one a business partner, that with a local, makes him a terrorist.

Meanwhile, even before the loans are granted, China is already collecting advance interest from them: the Chinese are now free to come not only to compete with the natives for work but, significantly, are now beginning to lord over in some industries, both above ground and underground, like in telecommunication, infrastructure, online gambling, and in drug trade, money laundering, smuggling, prostitution and human trafficking.

Now comes the burning issue of red-tagging.

To be red- tagged is to be identified as a communist, ipso facto, in this country, a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and /or its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA). Incidentally, the CPP-NPA has been officially declared by the government as a terrorist group by virtue of a Presidential Proclamation issued by President Duterte on December 5, 2017.

There are, therefore, needless to say, strong basis for the cry of alarm of political activists, celebrities, political party, labor groups and other organizations and all else red-tagged by state security forces.

Anyone red-tagged is either a communist or a supporter of the communist organization in this country and by logic is a terrorist and inescapably so by operation under RA 11479, the Philippines Anti-Terrorism Law.

This is horribly dangerous considering the culture of impunity in this fractured land. If those drug-tagged, even young drug pushers and drug users have become expedient victims of extra judicial and vigilante killing, what would spare those red-tagged from suffering the same fate? Take note that in many places a terrorist is commonly projected as a monstrous, heartless and soulless enemy of the society, thanks to the ISIS image of demonic cruelty that sticks in the mind. The scums of the earth, without distinction, are easy target for elimination wholesale.

Red-tagging is a slipshod method in fighting communism. By stifling legitimate dissent, it alienates many and forces them underground, thus, strengthens rather than weakens the movement. By this time, the men in uniform and the entire leadership of the government ought to have already learned that a military solution is not a solution, and never will be, to the communist problem.

And red-tagging, by itself, is a terroristic act because it destroys the future and the lives of those so marked red. It should be nipped in the bud.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)

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