CDO Mayor Moreno says red-tagging is unjust

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY —- City mayor Oscar Moreno lambasted the red-tagging of a community pantry in Pasil, Kauswagan this city calling unjust.

On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, University of the Philippines alumna and instructor Rene Principe, Jr. started a community pantry in Sitio Pasil, Barangay Kauswagan. Today, a leaflet red-tagged Principe as a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The red-tagging of Principe prompted him to stop his day-old community pantry, which provides free vegetables to his neighbors.

Moreno said that there is nothing wrong with community pantry as this is an expression of the community helping each other also an expression of generosity.

Moreno defined red-tagging as when somebody labeled as an insurgent, leaning, supporting, or cuddling of rebels. Moreno called it unjust.

“Legally speaking, the law on penalizing communists was repealed, it needs an overt act which constitutes a crime before you can be brought before the court to answer for such an overt act,” Moreno said.

The Philippines outlawed communism and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in 1957 through Republic Act (RA) 1700 ( The Anti-Subversion Act of 1957). However, this was repealed in 1992 through RA 7636.

Moreno said that he does not agree with red-tagging as it is sensitive as it is not good.

Carlos Conde, a Cagayanon who is a Senior Researcher at Human Rights Watch in a post said that red-tagging is seriously damaging.

“It has contributed to the deaths of many, many activists. And these deaths, this violence encouraged by the likes of Parlade, what makes all this reprehensible. This is not just one negligible issue; this is about life and death, about human rights, about civil liberties.

Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. is the spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Parlade also red-tagged other community pantries across the Philippines.

Lawyer Antonio Neri, of the Xavier University Legal Aid Center in his social media post, said that The Kauswagan Cagayan de Oro Community Pantry was not spared from harassment, red-tagging, and intimidation.

“This morning, the pantry was temporarily suspended after posters containing the images of the volunteers circulated in the area. The poster is too familiar. It contains pictures of the volunteers with arrows pointing them as members of the Communist Party and supporters of the armed struggle. An army of trolls also flooded the comment section in their advocacy pages,” Neri said.

Neri himself was red-tagged in June 2020 Independence Day rally.

“This harassment should stop. Let us make this clear. It is not a crime to organize your communities to help the vulnerable and the poor. The only crime committed here is the consistent harassment, intimidation, and red-tagging by those who have the logistics, resources, and the time, as emboldened by their perverse sense of duty. We know who you are,” Neri said.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this concerted effort to undermine community efforts simply because its volunteers are active citizens,” Neri added.

Neri also called on the city and barangay government to support these community efforts and provide security to the volunteers who did nothing wrong but to fulfill their civic duty.

Neri also encourages those who want to start their own community pantry, ”We call everyone to support these initiatives and start one in your own communities. We are all in this together,” Neri said.

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