UMPIL, PETA hit red-tagging of playwright Liza Magtoto

Published January 25, 2021, 1:38 PM

by Gabriela Baron

The Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) and Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) hit the red-tagging of the University of the Philippines (UP) alumna and Carlos Palanca-awardee playwright Liza Magtoto.


Magtoto, who is a playwright for PETA, was falsely tagged as one of the 27 UP students who allegedly became rebels. The list was released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Information Exchange.

“We strongly condemn the red-tagging of writer Liza Magtoto, who received the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas para sa Dula sa Filipino in 2017,” UMPIL said in Filipino.

UMPIL, who called Magtoto a “defender of women and youth,” sounded alarm over the intensified red-tagging of individuals and students. 

“Universities mold students to be smart individuals and good citizens. Campuses should only be kept safe from repression and intimidation. It is necessary to ensure that universities remain open to all thoughts and dispositions. This is important in achieving a truly humane society,” it underscored.

“Literature flourishes in a free society. In an oppressed society, literature resists,” UMPIL added.

Meanwhile, PETA slammed the list as “damaging and harmful.” 

“This exemplifies the danger of the Anti-Terrorism Law which impinges on our rights to freedom of expression, speech, and assembly,” the organization said.

“We stand together with our community of artists in our unshakeable determination to create liberating and relevant art for social change. PETA will continue to stand for freedom, truth, justice, and the pursuit and the protection of human rights dignity, this is our mission. We will not cower in fear,” it added.

Apart from Magtoto, the list included late artist and activist Behn Cervantes, Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) lawyer Rafael Aquino, journalists Roel Landingin and Roberto Coloma, former Philippine Health Insurance (Philhealth) president and CEO Alexander Padilla, Ateneo de Manila University faculty member Marie Liza Dacanay, former undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Elmer Mercado, and Libra Law founder Roan Libarios.

The AFP Information Exchange on Sunday apologized to “those who were inadvertently affected” by the false list. The agency said it is already conducting an internal investigation as to how the list got published.