AFP red-tagging alarms UP chancellor
By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The newly installed chancellor of the University of the Philippines Baguio raised alarm over the the conduct of counter insurgency symposiums in public elementary and high schools in Baguio City where elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) vilifies legitimate organizations and universities.
Earlier reports showed that a lecturer who identified himself as Rudolf Balanay from Camp Allen in his lecture at Pines City National High School Pinget Annex last August 18 was quoted to say that new recruits of the New People’s Army come form the various UP campuses.
It can also be recalled that these symposiums stemmed from a Department of Education (DepEd) Baguio City Division Memorandum 68 issued on June 26.
UP Baguio Chancellor Dr. Raymund Rovillos said the AFP’s symposiums is really alarming and is actually vilification and demonization of legitimate organizations and even universities. He added that it is another form of stereotyping like the assumption that all UP students are activists.
“This is scary. It is reminiscent of our experience during the Martial Law period where the military waged a witch hunt for activists. Our government should do something about it,” Rovillos pointed out.
Rovillos was among the student activists who fought against the Marcos dictatorship two decades ago. The UP Baguio chancellor also expressed fear for the safety of UP students, faculty and staff saying that vilification could lead to other forms of rights violations. “What will stop them from harming us if they are allowed to continue vilifying and demonizing us,” he further pointed out.
In a separate interview Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) Secretary General Jude Baggo reiterated that vilification is the beginning of all human rights violations. He explained that the military starts by vilifying their target victims who are usually members and leaders of legitimate organizations before actually harassing, suing, killing, abducting, torturing or raping them. As if linking them with underground revolutionary organizations would justify the violation of the victims’ human rights.
“The conduct of these symposiums is actually part of the military’s vilification campaign against legitimate organizations. This must stop as it does not only violate the rights of legitimate organizations but violates the people’s right to peaceably assemble and express their political beliefs,” Baggo reiterated.
Moreover, Baggo said that instead of involving school children in the AFP’s counter insurgency program and vilification campaign, they should be taught how to be good and productive citizens by their civilian teachers and not combat troops whose role is in the frontline of keeping the citizenry secure from threats of invasion or crime. # nordis.net