By Leslie Ann Aquino
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo deplored the inclusion of at least 50 organizations, including several church groups, in the government’s list of alleged “communist front organizations.”
The prelate said it is “inherent” to churches and aid groups to provide help to everyone who are in need regardless of political and religious beliefs.
“We do not ask a victim of a calamity if he or she is a communist before giving assistance,” he said.
Pabillo said red-tagging has been the practice of the military and police institutions of persons and institutions who expose their rights abuses.
“Stop the practice of red-tagging! If their intelligence, if they have one, indicates that a person or a group is engaged in illegal activities, then bring them to court rather than flaunting their name as supporting communist terrorists,” he said.
Instead of red-tagging aid organizations, Pabillo said the government should strengthen engagements with them.
He added that faith-based institutions and humanitarian and development organizations should be encouraged and supported.
“They are doing what the government cannot do, or they do better, faster, and with less wastage than what the government is mandated to do,” Pabillo said.
Among those in the list are Caritas Australia, Caritas Austria, Caritas Belgium, Caritas Switzerland, and the Diocesan Social Action Action Center of Kalibo.
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Save the Children Foundation, Bread for the World, Oxfam International, Swedish Red Cross, and Mercy Relief were also red-tagged.