Año defends anti-Red tarps

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has encouraged local government units (LGUs) and other organizations “fed up with the lies, deceitfulness, and atrocities of the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) to place their own tarpaulins and billboards to send a strong message that their terrorism and criminal acts are not tolerated by the people.”

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN)
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

He stressed that condemning the activities of the communist groups is an expression of free speech that is mandated under the Constitution.

Año emphasized that there “is nothing wrong with the posting and displaying of tarpaulins or messages denouncing communist rebels or terrorist groups.’’

Allaying deep public alarm, Año said one should not fear if he or she is not a member of any terrorist group.

He  questioned why this can be labeled red-tagging when these concerned groups are “communists or reds by their own admission.”

The DILG chief cited Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Joma Sison who is living comfortably in exile in The Netherlands.

He claimed that Sison has red-tagged the groups in the first place so they should complain to their leader and not to the government.’

“In Belgium, Sison clearly named their open sectoral front organizations as part of their United Front building. Unmasking these groups controlled and directed by the Communist Party of the Philippines through party branches embedded in them is the solemn duty of government. Otherwise, we will not be doing our duty,” Año said.

Tarpaulins and banners declaring CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata sprouted on Roxas Boulevard and other areas in Metro Manila.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno had ordered these taken down.

“I believe these tarpaulins are mere expressions of citizens or certain groups that are fed up with abuses and atrocities perpetrated by the CPP-NPA-NDF. I welcome such kind of expression to send the message to the CPP-NPA-NDF that they are not welcome in the National Capital Region, just like in the other provinces, cities, and municipalities all over the country,” he added.

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that 20,085 LGUs have issued resolutions declaring the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona-non-grata or unwelcome in their LGUs.

In Metro Manila, Mandaluyong City and Muntinlupa City have passed resolutions against the CPP-NPA-NDF.