BAGUIO Mayor Benjamin Magalong has ordered the local police to take down any tarps or posters that implicitly or explicitly tie activists to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) or its military arm the New People’s Army (NPA). The mayor’s action was prompted by a dialogue with activists and cause-oriented groups in the city,
Magalong ordered Col. Glenn Lonogan, director of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), to do so after activists, including students in the city, as well as members of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) and affiliate organizations claimed feeling unsafe after being labeled as “communist front groups,” and in the case of the CPA, being declared persona non grata in two Baguio barangays.
He also ordered the police to prevent the future putting up of such tarps and posters that red-tag activists, and said that he is aiming to ask for a review of the implementation of Cordillera’s anti-insurgency program.
“Cause-oriented groups shared their sentiments, especially with red-tagging, and them being exposed and vilified on social media. We gave them assurance that here in Baguio, they’re safe, that we’re going to undertake measures that will ensure that they are safe, and at the same time address the vilification that is happening to them,” Magalong said.
Students earlier in 2021 petitioned the local court for a Writ of Amparo, seeking for the police to track and shut down 24 Facebook accounts that ran a smear campaign on them, which led to threats of sexual and physical violence.
Francesca Macli-ing Claver, a human rights lawyer who served as counsel for said students, said that six of said accounts turned out to have originated from official social media of Cordillera police.
Other groups, such as CPA and Tongtongan ti Umili, have faced labeling as rebel combatants, endangering their lives and families, with CPA chair Windel Bolinget previously facing murder charges filed by the police in a region he had never been to.