Relentless, shameless red-tagging

The audacity of Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy seems to have no limits when it comes to red-tagging critics of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a recent guesting on One News’ ‘The Chiefs,’ Badoy accused 41-year-old independent think-tank IBON Foundation as being a communist front.

The topic of that episode was Duterte Legacy, a campaign initiated by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) supposedly to highlight the administration’s achievements in the past three years. When IBON Research Head Rosario Guzman shared her group’s analysis on the economic situation, using facts and figures from government agencies, Badoy resorted to shooting the messenger, so to speak. Veteran journalists Ed Lingao and Roby Alampay asked her to focus on the topic but the communications undersecretary deliberately deviated from it.

This is not the first time that Badoy, a proud member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), did this. A few months ago, Badoy also labeled on the same show the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the largest organization of journalists in the country, as a communist front.

The NTF-ELCAC, created by Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, consistently links progressive people’s organizations and NGOs to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in an attempt to discredit criticisms of Duterte’s policies and programs. In chorus with their online trolls and paid propagandists, the PCOO and NTF-ELCAC believe in and propagate their own lies, and attack all those who dare to tell the truth. At the receiving end of these online and physical attacks are the most vocal against the administration’s anti-people economic policies, tyrannical rule, subservience to foreign powers, among others.

As what has been proven, red-tagging precedes grave human rights violations. Hundreds of lawyers, human rights defenders, Church people, and activists have already been killed. Others find themselves constantly under surveillance, harassed and intimidated.

Badoy echoes a national policy that espouses state-instigated violence against civilians. Portraying activists and journalists as “enemies of the state” justifies human rights abuses perpetrated by state agents. Badoy’s line is as dangerous as Duterte’s marching order to “kill, kill, kill.”

There should be no let-up in resisting such tyranny. Hope lies in the people’s struggle for truth, democracy and justice. ()

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