By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
Vilification, false charges, torture and harassment are all actions taken by the police and armed forces during the Marcos martial law period. They were tyrannical policies made and used to subjugate the Filipinos. It was cruel especially to the outspoken critics of the Marcos dictatorship which included the youth activists mostly in the universities and high schools, among the organized workers and peasants; Lumads, Igorots, the moros and muslims included. These shameless, unjust and tyrannical policies as it were that I still wonder how there still are what they call “die hards or loyalists” to that dictatorship? These irreverent kind of public relation actions are again being used by the present administration.
Recently, at the Lucky summer visitor program of the local media groups (BCBC) and public information officers with the cooperation of the City, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance had a press conference at the Camp Peppot Ilagan (near the Burnham skating rink) which was facilitated in joint agreement by both parties, the local press and CPA to maximize space, time and effort and the LSV contingent lunch-party with peers. Why it became a serious concern of the local police is either because of that administration policy or an over eager militarist in their midst trying to earn points to advance a career by attempting to vilify the CPA or its perceived members and even outspoken progressive citizens and members of society. Is Baguio’s finest blotter, red baiting?
For some members of the press like me, have noticed that civilian informers even at the barangay level pretending to inspect or visit (but more like snooping around) residences, workplaces and activities like rallies, critical forums and even cell phones and facebook. It is not easy to be alarmed after all it can just be a routine task for greenhorns in training on photography, note taking, or spy wares with official permits. Or simple paranoia on our part as experienced journalists who have as part of our task and profession the building of a stock of data on as many things possible including the workings of Baguio’s finest on the streets, and then frighten ourselves by the facts. We must stay responsible. It is a task and a mandate from our people to be the fourth estate.
My community of caring and responsible journalists are most alarmed by a police blotter list naming several local citizens at the recent mobilizations to junk the quo warranto case of Chief Justice Sereno, that included members of the local press in coverage. I believe the police blotter is a record and monitor of crime incidents and complaints in a day, as the command journal is for the daily activities of the command in relation to keeping peace and order within the civilian community.
With a grain of salt, while the police and the military have built a rather suspect reputation around the anti-drug campaign, the anti-insurgency, general peace and order, and the respect for human rights, we in Baguio also recognize the effort of members of the force to be fair and upright in the dispense of their responsibilities as citizens, as members of the community, Kakailian and being true to their mandate
In the same spirit of just peace, as citizens, as members of the community, Kailian and being true to our mandate, I am sure Baguio journalists hope the lists and monitoring above mentioned does not become a vilification list or red bait of citizens in our ranks and communities.# nordis.net