The College Editors Guild of the Philippines denounces the continuous military harassment to student publications and red-tagging of CEGP officers and members in Ateneo de Naga University and Baao Community College this March.
On March 17, police officers in their off-duty uniform went to the house of Jan Joseph Goingo, CEGP’s Vice President for Luzon. Goingo was not present at that time but he was informed that the police officers were asking information regarding his family.
The harassment continued on March 23 after Jhoan Villanueva, CEGP Bicol’s Chairperson, received a call from the administrators of Baao Community College (BCC) and said that police officers were inquiring about Liyab, CEGP Bicol’s annual student press convention, which was held this February. The police officers also asked the administrators of BCC if their students will participate in Lunduyan, CEGP’s Luzon-wide student press convention. The police officers said the inquiry was an act of investigation for the security of the students. In addition, the police officers handed down a regional memo to the administrators.
At 3 p.m., Goingo’s attention was called by the Ateneo de Naga University’s (AdNU) Office of Student Affairs (OSA). Another police officer went to their campus to conduct an investigation to ThePillars, the official publication of AdnU. The OSA informed Goingo regarding the inquiry of the police officer but did not disclose the staff who the police asked. The police officer also asked the still unidentified staff regarding the whereabouts of Goingo. The OSA also did not disclose the content of the regional memo of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines saying it was for the security of its students.Bothered by the continuous military harassment to her students,
The Nexus’ adviser Terry Pitagan went to the PNP office in Baao on March 24 and confronted the police at post. The police officer told the publications adviser to stop joining CEGP activities because “rallying” was a part of their program. The adviser showed program of CEGP’s activity and defended that conducting a rally was not part of any of CEGP’s events and said that rallying itself is not illegal. Pitagan was told that police officers will conduct continuous surveillance as ordered by the Central Office of PNP.
The continuous military harassments to CEGP officers and members and other student publications are clearly a calibrated attack of the state under President Rodrigo Duterte’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan. Their inquiries and investigations are blatantly part of operation triad─psywar, combat and intelligence.
Student journalists are now targets of neutralization. It is obvious that the acts of harassments in the form of inquiry and investigation, and surveillance on Goingo, shows that the military targets student journalists in forwarding the government’s fascist counter-insurgency scheme.
These attacks on campus journalists shows that the Duterte administration is only maintaining and intensifying the culture of impunity in the country.
The Guild will not be cowed by these fascist attacks by the state to intimidate and sow fear. In fact, the Guild has been continuously subject to “psy-war” designed by previous Oplan’s─Bayanihan and Bantay Laya─aimed to attack progressive organizations.
CEGP will keep its advocacy and orientation as a patriotic and democratic alliance of tertiary publications and will always be at the frontline in every fight of the Filipino people for their democratic interests. The Guild strongly believes that an action should be done and therefore affirms its stand to fight people’s rights against state repression and uphold people’s democratic rights.
We call on our fellow campus journalists, members of the media, and other groups for the advancement of people’s rights and welfare to unite our ranks and deplore this actions of the state aimed at silencing critics of the state.