“Such attacks have no place in a democracy.”
By JOHN AARON MARK MACARAEG
MANILA — Amid the red-tagging of progressive organizations, 64 lawmakers from different political parties expressed “growing concern on the ongoing crackdown against progressive groups like Makabayan bloc and the opposition.”
In a petition signed Nov. 14, members of the House of Representatives maintained that the Makabayan bloc “is a productive and dynamic part of the House Minority, whose members properly perform their role as credible fiscalizers of the administration, wholly within their bounds of the constitutions.”
The Makabayan bloc is composed of Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers Party, Gabriela Women’s Party and Kabataan Partylist. These partylist groups have wide membership, and their representatives are known to be among the top-performing lawmakers.
The lawmakers pointed out that in a democratic country, “ideology of individuals and organizations should be respected and protected as long as they act within the framework of the law.”
The statement came a week after the Department of National Defense labeled Gabriela and 17 other groups as fronts of “communist terrorist groups.”
Two weeks ago, 57 activists had been arrested and detained in simultaneous raids in Bacolod and Escalante in Negros island. Five more activists were arrested in Manila, including Gabriela-Metro Manila Spokesperson Cora Agovida.
The lawmakers said “such attacks have no place in a democracy.”