January 31, 2023

Even local officials are not spared from red-tagging.

Baguio Councilor Arthur Allad-iw said his support to people who are critical of the government and the public’s freedom to express their views had him the subject of a malicious social media post.

Allad-iw shared the concern during a roundtable discussion among local media practitioners in celebration of World Press Freedom Day on May 4; where threats to journalists, such as red-tagging, were discussed.

He said just as journalists are red-tagged for reporting things that are adverse to the government, Allad-iw said he, too, has been the subject of red-tagging.

He said a meme tagging him as a “terrorist protector” has been circulated on Facebook.

The meme had a snapshot of Allad-iw’s resolution supporting the bill filed by Sen. Franklin Drilon that sought to penalize red-tagging with up to 10 years in prison and to disqualify those found guilty of red-tagging from holding public office.

Allad-iw said he was surprised how the person was able to get a copy of his proposed resolution, which was not even filed with the city council.

The councilor’s office has been closed for disinfection two weeks ago.

“I do not know how they were able to get a copy of the resolution. This was not yet filed at the SP (sangguniang panlungsod),” he said, adding his office is verifying the identity of the person who created the meme tagging him as a protector of terrorists and studying legal options to be pursued against the person.

Allad-iw he is supporting Drilon’s bill as this is anchored on the Bill of Rights under the Constitution. Wikipedia refers to red-tagging in the Philippines as the malicious blacklisting of individuals or organizations critical or not fully supportive of the actions of the sitting government administration in the country.

These individuals and organizations are tagged as either communist or terrorist or both, regardless of their actual political beliefs or affiliations.

A journalist before becoming a politician, Allad-iw has acknowledged the changing landscape where the media are being discredited for reporting the truth, especially if the reports are adverse to the government.

Allad-iw said journalists should not back down despite the efforts, not only by State enforcers, but also by the people who bash them on social media.

He said press freedom is enshrined in the Constitution. – Jane B. Cadalig