Press Release
April 22, 2021

Drilon urges immediate passage of anti-red tagging law, seeks to defund anti-insurgency task force

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Thursday called for immediate passage of Senate Bill 2121 or the proposed "Act Defining and Penalizing Red-Tagging" amid the relentless red-tagging by officials of the government's anti-insurgency task form in the middle of a pandemic.

Drilon also called on Congress to defund the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and realign its P19.4 billion budget to fund the social amelioration program (SAP), commonly called "ayuda."

"I have filed an anti-red tagging bill, criminalizing and punishing this practice. I urge the Senate leadership to hear this bill as soon as possible," Drilon said.

Drilon is the author of the lone anti-red tagging bill. The bill was referred to the Committee on Justice chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.

"The recent events make the menacing effect of red-tagging more pronounced. We must put a stop to this immediately," said Drilon referring to recent red-tagging of various government organizations and even individuals who organized "community pantries" in the localities.

"The absence of a law that defines and punishes red-tagging makes it easier for individuals like Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. to make not only unfounded but dangerous and deadly accusations," Drilon said.

Once enacted into law, red-tagging will be punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to Drilon. He added that persons convicted of red-tagging will be barred from holding public office.

Under the Drilon bill, the crime of red-tagging is defined as the act of labeling, vilifying, branding, naming, accusing, harassing, persecuting, stereotyping, or caricaturing individuals, groups, or organizations as state enemies, left-leaning, subversives, communists, or terrorists as part of a counter-insurgency or anti-terrorism strategy or program, by any state actor, such as law enforcement agent, paramilitary, or military personnel.

The minority leader said the red-tagging by the government's anti-insurgency officials sow fear among Filipinos such as community mobilizers and organizers, whose works have helped hundreds of needy Filipinos in these trying times.

This called for the defunding of NTF-ELCAC, according to Drilon,

"For the past weeks, I have been urging the President to realign the anti-insurgency budget to fund the most critical "ayuda" to the poor. I am glad that my colleagues joined me in that call. But we do not have to wait for the 2022 budget debates to defund NTF-ELCAC. The President should realign the NTF-ELCAC under the 2021 GAA now.

"Now na! Because, as the saying goes, "Aanhin mo pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?" Drilon added, referring to his call to realign the anti-insurgency funds to social amelioration program or ayuda.

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