International human rights organisations are getting increasingly concerned regarding the red-tagging by the Philippine government. Red-tagging refers to the accusations of having a communist mindset, which, according to the Anti Terror Law of 2020 (ATA) is liable to prosecution. Nearly all journalists that have been killed since Duterte came into power had previously been red-tagged. According to Nonoy Espinosa, chairperson of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), red-tagging has only one purpose: To silence the democratic discourse. Red-tagging is usually used without any evidence and it becomes more and more clear that the government is using this measure as it pleases.
Universities are also increasingly being targeted with red-tagging. On February 18th, the 31 year old accord between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) has been dismissed unilaterally by the DND. Following the termination of this accord, numerous UP students, alumni and private universities have been accused, the latter were called recruiting facilities for the NPA (New People’s Army)
The Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility considers these measures a diversionary tactic to distract from other government activities, because in times where most people work and study from home it is not particularly reasonable to search universities for alleged communists.