The provincial chapter of fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA)-Cavite called for National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade, Jr. to be declared “persona non grata,” or an unwelcome person in the province of Cavite, following his red-tagging spree on activist groups and celebrities.
This followed Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla’s Facebook post blasting Parlade for accusing Manila mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso of being a “sympathizer of terrorists” and for threatening female celebrities not to associate themselves with women’s group Gabriela. Remulla also banned Parlade’s men from putting up posters promoting NTF-ELCAC’s red-tagging campaigns.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA-Cavite spokesperson Myrna Candinato commended Remulla for speaking up against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Parlade’s controversial campaigns, urging the action to keep him from red-tagging progressive groups based in Cavite.
“Cavite Governor Remulla should be commended for his audacity to confront a military general who is on a red-baiting galore of activists and progressive celebrities. We likewise urge him to declare Parlade as a ‘persona non grata’ across the province to prevent him from his usual vilification and red-tagging campaign of democratic activists based in Cavite,” Candinato stated.
PAMALAKAYA-Cavite said that their members are “often targets of red-tagging” due to their active opposition of the government’s reclamation projects, including the 420-hectare Manila Bay reclamation project in Bacoor City that poses to wipe out a large population of fish, paralyze the livelihood of fisherfolk and displace over 700 families. The said reclamation has already destroyed fishponds and mangroves near Manila Bay and filled them with garbage.
The provincial chapter of progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN Cavite) spokesperson Manny Asuncion also expressed support for Remulla’s move to counter NTF-ELCAC’s propaganda strategy in Cavite, saying they will also help in taking down the said propaganda posters.
“We warn Mr. Parlade not to put any of his propaganda posters here because we will take those down at any cost,” Asuncion stated.
Prior to the statement, NTF-ELCAC speaker Col. Erwin Alea red-tagged several progressive groups during an online NSTP 1 seminar titled “Strengthened Alliance on Fight Against Illegal Drugs and Terrorism (SAFER),” which was organized for Cavite State University (CvSU) students.
Parlade’s red-tagging spree
The state forces AFP and PNP’s relentless red-tagging crusade against the urban poor, progressive and activist groups this time spared not even members of the House of legislators, government leaders and celebrities.
Parlade received widespread criticism for warning actress Liza Soberano to “abdicate” women’s group Gabriela or she will “suffer the same fate” as Josephine Ann Lapira, an activist who died in 2017. This was after Soberano joined an online forum hosted by Gabriela regarding women’s rights issues.
He also warned Catriona Gray as well as other celebrities not to associate themselves with the women’s rights group.
Parlade also questioned Manila Mayor Isko Moreno’s order to remove tarpaulins which declared the Commuist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) as persona non grata, asking him if he was welcoming alleged terrorists into the city.
Parlade also revealed in an interview that Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colminares, along with the members of the Makabayan bloc, are under surveillance for their alleged ties with communist groups, referring to them as “card-bearing members” of the CPP.
The Makabayan bloc, a group of lawmakers from left-leaning political parties, consists of Bayan Muna Representatives Carlos Zarate, Eufemia Cullamat, and Ferdinand Gaite; Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Partylist Representative France Castro and Kabataan Party-list Representative Sarah Elago.
House speaker Lord Allan Velasco stated that Parlade should be careful in “issuing statements” implicating House members without evidence, saying that these statements, which put the lawmakers’ lives in danger.
In a statement, the Makabayan Bloc said that the surveillance is NTF-ELCAC’s way of getting back at its members.
“The generals sitting at the leadership of the NTF-ELCAC now are seething with rage because the generals’ pork in the NTF-ELCAC was exposed to the public and they are hitting back at our bloc for doing so,” Makabayan stated.
Meanwhile, Brosas called out NTF-ELCAC’s act of surveillance as illegal and a “violation” of the members’ “constitutional right to privacy.” [P]
Photo from Juan Sebastian Evangelista