By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has condemned the reported strafing of a house in Palapag, Northern Samar on June 20, which led to the deaths of two individuals who were allegedly red-tagged by law enforcement agencies.
The CHR is demanding justice for the family of Jolina Calot, a student of the University of Eastern Philippines and a member of the League of Filipino Students.
It was her father and a companion who died because of the attack allegedly made by members of the Northern Samar Police Mobile Force Company and the 20th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. The strafing, which took place in their own home, left Jolina, her mother and sibling wounded.
CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia warned against the state’s “haphazard labelling” of individuals as affiliated to communist or leftist terrorist groups. De Guia said that this red-tagging threatens the lives of the safety of individuals.
“Red-tagging in the context of the increasing extrajudicial killings in rural Philippines and the government’s counterinsurgency program may be seen as a manifestation of repression and the criminalization of political dissent,” she said.
The CHR extended its deepest sympathy to the families of the fallen farmers and made a commitment to conduct an independent investigation of the case.
“We call on the local government of Northern Samar to equally probe the violent incident and deliver immediate justice to the victims,” she said.