November 29, 2012
CEGP CV Chairperson
On the escalating human rights violations: CEGP CV refutes ‘AFP’s red-tagging’
Campus journalists from the College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Cagayan Valley (CEGP-CV) Chapter assail the perennial ‘red-tagging’ of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to legal progressive organizations like CEGP as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army.
Last November 27, the AFP conducted a counter-insurgency symposium at Cagayan State University Carig in which they warned students not to join progressive organizations like CEGP, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines and National Union of Students of the Philippines.
“It must be noted that symposiums like this are being conducted more often. For the record, this is the second counter-insurgency symposium conducted in Cagayan since the re-establishment of CEGP in the region last February 4. Nine days ago, student journalists from Palawan also denounced AFP’s red-tagging from a similar seminar,” said Liana Acuzar, chairperson of CEGP Cagayan Valley.
Members of AFP together with a woman who they claim to be an ex-rebel explained to the students that these organizations must be avoided since they are members of CPP-NPA. Particularly, they presented CEGP as an organization of campus publications that propagandize issues of the workers and the peasants.
“CEGP is a legitimate and legal organization. When we write issues about the marginalized sectors such as the workers and the peasants, this does not automatically mean that we are already members of any rebel groups. Besides, campus publications are under alternative journalism which in essence should expose issues like genuine land reform, living wage, human rights violations, crisis in education system and many other topics that the mainstream media sometimes fail to uncover. This is just a proof that the Guild is true to its mantra, ‘to write is already to choose’. And in our case, we choose to serve and write for the masses whose voices are not usually heard,” Acuzar elaborated.
“In the first place, campus journalists should put these issues in the forefront of their writing stints because the real meaning of social awareness and involvement is being able to interact with the grassroots of the society and advocate their concerns in words and actions,” she said.
“The youth also have the right to know these issues because many students are also the children of our workers and poor farmers. Most especially, many of our youth already venture into working instead of studying due to poverty,” Acuzar added.
The accusations of AFP indeed create an atmosphere of fear and apathy to students. To think critically about the society would mean membership to armed groups such as the NPA. So for the students, it’s either being labeled as a rebel or being silent. The AFP must know how to differentiate the progressive and revolutionary organizations. Such persecutions should not be tolerated.
“It is therefore not surprising that campus journalists are even involved in cases of human rights violations. Rachel Mae Palang and Benjaline Hernandez who were vice presidents for Visayas and Mindanao respectively were killed by suspected military agents,” Acuzar also said.
“Aquino should be sincere in prioritizing human rights. He must not forget the many endangered lives of youth because of these baseless accusations,” she added.
CEGP will continue to register its critical stance on issues despite the consecutive red-tagging of AFP. We campus journalists remain to choose the people and no amount of persecution will be able to silence us. ###