“The red-tagging of progressive partylist groups and organizations could not obscure (Makabayan bloc) our long time record of genuinely serving the people.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – The Makabayan bloc strongly condemned Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio’s red- tagging of progressive partylists and organizations. In a statement, ACT Teachers’ Party Rep. Antonio Tinio said Carpio’s red-tagging was meant to divert the public’s attention from the “economic crisis, extrajudicial killings and the emerging dictatorship caused by the anti-people policies” of her father, President Duterte’s administration.
“Straight from the pages of her father’s dictator book, Mayor Duterte-Carpio is actively campaigning against progressives with long standing records of fighting for the rights of the people especially the marginalized sector,” said Tinio.
In her Instagram account, Carpio called out Tinio and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao who are joining a Mindanao-wide peasant rally in Davao City, which was also participated in by Lumad children. She accused the two of taking the children out to the streets to join rallies.
Casilao, in a report, said Lumad children joined the rally to call for an end to the militarization of Lumad schools and tagging their teachers as communists.
Carpio also called for the expulsion of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives and to not support them in the 2019 elections.
Carpio also lashed out at Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) who she claimed blocked the road in Lasang village in Davao City last Monday, Oct. 22 causing what she described as “extreme inconvenience” to transport goods and people to a labor conference at the Department of Labor and Employment Region XI.
In her statement, Carpio alleged that the KMU “terrorize, engender lawlessness, create confusion, and disrespect fellow human beings” among others.
However Mindanao-based Kilab Multimedia reports showed that banana plantation workers of Sumifru in Compostella Valley was barred by Task Force Davao and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) from traveling to the conference in Davao City. At least 600 workers were supposed to attend the conference. The workers then mounted their barricade in Lasang when they were not permitted travel by the authorities.
Gabriela Women’s Party second nominee Bai Ali Indayla said that it is in fact Carpio’s father, Duterte, who terrorize people and disrespect human rights. “It’s definitely not the Sumifru workers who were merely exhausting avenues to resolve their dispute through a labor conference. But they were deliberately blocked from entering Davao City by the combined forces of Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Indayla said.
Tinio urged Carpio to listen on the legitimate demands of the people. He said that every Filipino has the right to criticize anti-people policies of its government and yet they are being tagged as terrorists and persecuted for exercising their political rights.
“In times of worsening culture of impunity, to stand with the people and fight for their rights is only just,” Tinio said.
‘Blurring the line between legal and unarmed progressive partylists’
Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas meanwhile criticized the Carpio for “blurring the line between legal and unarmed progressive partylists and the underground Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).”
The Makabayan bloc has reiterated that there is danger in red-tagging legal organizations especially when there is a climate of impunity in the country.
Brosas said that by making no distinction between armed and unarmed groups, Carpio is actually endorsing the brutal crackdown on partylist members and coordinators all over the country.
“She is in effect justifying the illegal arrest of our House of Representatives consultant Hedda Calderon, who remains illegally detained in Camp Crame on the basis of fabricated charges, as well as those of our coordinators in various regions,” Brosas added.
Calderon and four others were arrested at gunpoint on Oct. 15. Calderon was a longtime women’s rights activist. She has been a consultant of the Center for Women’s Resources for 15 years.
The Makabayan bloc has been vilified since Bayan Muna first got elected to Congress in 2001. The vilification campaign against progressive partylist groups as well as those who ran for Senate such as former Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares were massive. Some members were even killed.
Amid Carpio and the Duterte government’s red-tagging of the Makabayan bloc, the truth will remain, said ACT Teachers’ Party Rep. France Castro – “The red-tagging of progressive partylist groups and organizations could not obscure (Makabayan bloc) our long time record of genuinely serving the people.”
The Makabayan bloc has been serving the people in the halls of the House of Representatives for almost two decades. Their representatives have also remained in the list of the most poorest Congressmen according to their Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth.