The Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) supported the Department for Education’s (DEPEd) proposal to include lessons on human rights violations in the curriculum. The 10th grade curriculum will now include topics on so-called “red-tagging,” trolling, and extrajudicial killings. Part of the 6th grade curriculum will also address human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship and the subsequent presidencies.
But what is “red-tagging?” “Red-tagging” in the Philippines describes the act accusing individuals, organizations, or progressive groups of supporting the armed communist insurgency in the country. “Red-tagging” is often a politically motivated practice based on intimidation and threats against potential dissidents since the Cold War, with little to no evidence.
Diosa Labiste, professor for journalism at the University of the Philippines, found that there is link between the increase of „red-tagging“ and spread of disinformation in social media channels. This practice often leads to fabricated charges, arbitrary arrests, and detentions, and enforced disappearances. In many cases, “red-tagging” also results in extrajudicial killings for many human rights defenders.
Last month, the CHR launched its own investigation into the cases of surveillance of members of the human rights groups Gabriela and Makabayan Bloc in Tondo, Metro Manila, by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Recently, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) announced that it had filed a complaint with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) regarding “red-tagging” statements made by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte against the ACT. Critics warned of the double-edged sword that Sara Duterte, as secretary of education, is introducing with the introduction of human rights education and her simultaneous “red-tagging” statements against the ACT.
Photo © Raffy Lerma