30 March 2019
On another incident of red-tagging of different people’s organizations and human rights advocates
This past week, a group calling itself “Movement Against Terrorism – Northern Mindanao Region” (a malicious rip off of the name and acronym Movement Against Tyranny – Northern Mindanao Region (MAT-NMR) has released a press statement and two (2) sets of fliers in Cagayan de Oro City. It is obviously intent in spreading false and dangerous statements against different human rights advocates and people’s organizations in Northern Mindanao.
On March 26, Facebook account “Al Pac” sent to the RMP-NMR’s Facebook page a press statement of the Movement Against Terrorism-Northern Mindanao Region. Said statement falsely enlisted a wide range of organizations as supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) . It included organizations of the youth and students (Anakbayan, SCMP, LFS, NUSP, CEGP, Karatula), progressive partlylists (Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan) indigenous peoples organizations and learning institutions (Kalumbay, KALUMARAN, Tagtabulon, Suara Bangsamoro, Katribu, Alcadev, TRIFPSS), religious (IFI, UCCP, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, SAMIN), workers and urban poor (KMU, Kadamay), farmers (KMP, MOFA, GCUFA), OFWs (Migrante) and professionals (UPLM, NUPL, ACT, Courage), and multisectoral alliance (BAYAN).
Around 1 AM on March 28, a CCTV recording showed a grey car throwing out pieces of papers as it passed by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) -NMR office. These were found to be fliers showing dead bodies and a message of condemnation of the NPA on its 50th year. At the bottom of the fliers was a message to MAT-NMR, Iglesia Filipina Independiente and the RMP to “ scamming the people into joining and supporting the armed rebels in the countryside”. (Video in the comments section)
At 10 PM on the same day, another set of fliers were distributed at the Provincial Capitol grounds of Misamis Oriental. This is where evacuees from Sitio Camansi, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental has been staying for over a year now due to heavy militarization in their community. The fliers declaring the CPP/NPA/NDF and the alleged supporting organizations as PERSONA NON-GRATA. On top of the organizations enumerated in the press release, Bayan Muna and the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro Social Action Center were also included.
At 8:00 AM on March 29, the president of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Region X reported that the same fliers were found scattered around the vicinity of Camaman-an Elementary school. This shows a clear disregard of a school being a zone of peace. It also deliberately aims to spread misinformation among students and teachers about activists, human rights defenders, and advocacy groups whose only crimes are promoting the rights and interests of the Filipino people
These are desperate moves to crack down organizations that are critical to this government. Such cowardly activities aim to sow fear and misinformation among the public. The State forces are trying to condition the mind of the people to justify further attacks against these organizations. And by doing so, the Duterte government shows it’s true face as number one violator of the constitutional rights of the people, hampering the people’s freedom in articulating their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship or sanction.
On behalf of the other organizations that are subjected to surveillance, red tagging and other repressive acts of the state, the Movement Against Tyranny condemns these cowardly, malicious, and false claims. And amidst the fear and misinformation brought by Martial Law, the people of Northern Mindanao will continue to fight for the truth, justice, and genuine peace.
Rev. Fr. Rolando Abejo
Movement Against Tyranny – Northern Mindanao Region