Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday sought an explanation from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which has been accused of red-tagging—or branding as communists and enemies of state—some media organizations.
“Kapag sinasabi na ire-red tag dahil media is the enemy of the state, nakakabahala ’yon. Siguro hindi nila naisip ang repercussion ng gano’ng klaseng branding,” Poe said.
This was after the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) secretary general Raymund Villanueva and University of the Philippines associate professor Danilo Arao informed the Senate committee on public information and mass media, which Poe heads, of a PowerPoint presentation supposedly being shown by the military in several schools.
Villanueva said that the AFP created the presentation, which pointed to media organizations such as NUJP as enemies of the state, as early as 2006.
“We received reports as late as few weeks ago that the AFP is still going around schools using that PowerPoint presentation accusing NUJP and critical media organizations such as Bulatlat and Kodao Productions as so-called enemies of the state,” he told the committee.
He said the presentation was first used during the state of national emergency declared by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006 due to supposed threats against the government.
“Ginamit nila nu’ng panahon ni Arroyo, ginagamit pa rin nila ngayon,” he added.
Arao supported the Villanueva's information.
“Aside from the academe, I was a board member of Bulatlat and Kodao Productions. It [the presentation] is part of the socio-civic campaign of the AFP. If you are interested, your honor, the title of the presentation is ‘Trinity of War’,” he said.
Arao said that aside from the NUJP, other victims of red-tagging were the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
“That would explain why some of our reporters at Bulatlat had to really be more careful with their coverage, most especially when writing about human rights violations,” he said.
Poe asked the committee secretary to send a letter to the AFP asking for the presentation.
“Supposedly this is already an obsolete presentation—it should never be a relevant presentation to begin with ‘di ba, so hihingan natin ng reaksiyon ang AFP kung bakit may mga ganitong presentasyon,” the senator told reporters after the hearing.
“Siyempre kasi ayaw naman natin na magkakaroon ng polisiya na kapag ikaw ay journalist, all of a sudden ikaw ay nakamarka na…Hindi ba sinasabi nga ng lahat na ang media nga ang tagabantay, so dapat proteksiyunan din naman sila at maresolba na rin itong mga kaso laban sa mga pagpatay,” she added. — BM, GMA News