A LAWMAKER representing a party-list for teachers condemned the anti-communist task force’s reported orientation activities in a public high school in Baguio City, saying these were used to tag progressive groups as violent communists.
In a press conference on Wednesday, House Deputy Minority Leader France L. Castro, who represents the ACT Teachers Party-list, said the ad hoc task force under the Office of the President recently conducted orientations to students of Philippine Science High School in Baguio regarding a “Communist Terrorist Group.”
She said the presentations “contained vilification, red-tagging, and terror tagging of progressive individuals and organizations targeting students, teachers, and education support personnel.”
Progressive organization Anakbayan, in a tweet on Jan. 17, cited a memo indicating that the activity was sanctioned by school authorities.
Ms. Castro called the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) move an “attempt to condition the minds of the youth.”
“The NTF-ELCAC has accused educators of brainwashing the youth many times and has tagged them as terrorists for simply doing their job to encourage curiosity, furthering human knowledge using critical thinking, and passing on learnings from history with the benefit of context, hindsight and guided analysis,” she said.
Ms. Castro was recently accused by former NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Marie T. Badoy of extorting money from teachers.
“Schools are zones of peace and red-tagging orientations in schools must stop,” Ms. Castro said.
In a separate statement, the Kabataan Party-list which represents youth concerns, said in Filipino, “Red-tagging kills not only students’ academic freedom and critical thinking, but also actual people.” — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz