UPB files complaint with city gov’t on red-tagging and harassment
Through UPRISE-UPB, UPB students and alumni filed an official complaint on July 10, 2020, addressed to the City Government of Baguio regarding p–recent red-tagging and harassment cases.
Since January 2020, malicious posts branding UPB students and organizations as members and fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) were seen circulating in social media. UPB organizations red-tagged in a post by a Facebook profile named “Paraiso Kaigoratan” were UP Baguio Outcrop, Campus Alliance for Dedicated and Unified Action, Alliance of Concerned Students and its member organizations: Anakbayan UP Baguio, League of Filipino Students Metro Baguio, Innabuyog Gabriela Youth UP Baguio, Bahaghari Metro Baguio.
Aside from this, tarpaulins with similar content were also found in different areas in Baguio City. Leaders and members of these organizations were blatantly tagged as terrorists namely, UPB University Student Council Chairperson Nico Ponce, Shannen Dela Cruz, Francheska Kapunan, Khim Russel Abalos, Louise Montenegro, and UPB alumni Christian Dave Ruz, Sarah Dekdeken, and Keidy Transfiguracion.
“UPB USC continues to denounce these flagrant attacks and outright character assassination to our student-leaders. At the heels of the approval of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, these attacks are a prelude to what the bill entails to the status of our democracy, dissent, and academic freedom,” said UPB USC in their statement.
Moreover, student-leaders and a junior faculty of UPB received private messages and death threats through an anonymous Facebook account and number. UPB-USC Chairperson Nico Ponce and League of Filipino Students – Metro Baguio Chairperson Cheska Kapunan were sent private messages saying that they are CPP-NPA fronts. Meanwhile, environmental activist and junior faculty of UPB, Deign Frolley Soriano received a death threat saying “kung hndi nmin matumba mga puno, ikaw itu2xmba namin.”
“Only people with criminal minds and selfish interests could possibly be threatened by the pro-environment views of Mr. Soriano that the AUPAEU strongly supports. The more disconcerting and sinister part of this recent threat against a UP Baguio faculty, along with the red-tagging of our student leaders and other UP faculty, is that it violates our fundamental right to expression and puts people’s lives at risk,” the All UP Academic Employees Union – Baguio Chapter statement’s read.
The complaint included a request to the city government to conduct proper investigations regarding these cases and hold accountable to those involved. It also urged the city government to push forward the Anti-Political Vilification Ordinance that will ensure the safety of leaders, activists, human rights, and land defenders in the city.
“These trying times are have inevitably caused fear within our ranks but our militancy and fighting spirit have not been wrecked. Armed with the puissant principle to uphold students and people’s rights and welfare, we will continue to call for the junking of terror law and for our voices to be heard,” said ACS Chairperson John Gemuel Maramba in its statement.**