Just because red is the color of Valentine’s doesn’t give anyone a free pass to try and get cute with red-tagging. UP Baguio Outcrop, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines Baguio, reported on Feb. 14 that a group of unidentified individuals was giving away roses and chocolate-coated wafers with warnings to stay away from Gabriela Women’s Party near their campus.
ALERT! Kasagsagan ng pagdumog ng mga estudyante sa loob ng UP Baguio bilang pagdalo sa taunang Org Fair ay namataan ang isang grupo ng mga hindi pa nakikilalang indibidwal na namimigay ng mga bulaklak at tsokolate na may mensaheng pinalalayo ang mga kabataan sa Gabriela. pic.twitter.com/dmJ8E2nx9u
In the photo taken by UP Baguio Outcrop, you can see the Valentine’s card with the words “Mahalin mo ang iyong pamilya, ilayo mo sila sa Gabriela Women’s Party” attached to one of the choco snacks. The hashtags #ProtektaranTiKababaihan and #IsaIbaDagitiAgtutubo are also printed on the bottom. As of today, Facebook content that used either of the hashtags aren’t available on a cursory search which means that “the owner only shared it with a small group of people, changed who can see it or it’s been deleted.”
The publication added that students, mostly women, who received the gifts were allegedly being forced to receive the flowers and photographed even after they declined.
Innabuyog-Gabriela Youth UP Baguio’s (IGY UPB) chairperson also shared photographs of another set of cards attached to the “gifts” with the words “Bago mo ibigay ang rosas na ito sa jowa mo, sa CPP-NPA-NDF siya ay ilayo.” She wrote in a series of tweets that yet-to-be-identified individuals were spotted handing them out by the UP Baguio gate while a mobilization for the One Billion Rising global campaign to end rape and sexual violence against women was being conducted. “We condemn this baseless attack against our legitimate organizations,” she added.
With both messages being handed together, there seems to be an insinuation that Gabriela Women’s Party is associated with the CPP-NPA-NDF. Red-tagging, a law enforcement and military tactic that accuses individuals and organizations of being terrorists, has long been used to try to discredit and disqualify Gabriela Women’s Party.
We strongly condemn this well-funded smear campaign against us by suspected police and military forces. It infringes on women's right to organize and take part on advocacy campaigns for the people.
Gabriela Women’s Party released a statement today saying, “We strongly condemn this well-funded smear campaign against us by suspected police and military forces. It infringes on women’s right to organize and take part in advocacy campaigns for the people. We call for an immediate investigation, and end to this harassment.”
Days prior to the incident, several progressive mass leaders and organizations received notices from Twitter on reports filed by the Philippine National Police claiming that their tweets violate Philippine law. Among those who received the report is Anakbayan national chairperson Jeann Miranda who shared screenshots of the email and the reported tweets in a thread where she criticized it as an attempt to silence critics.
Supporting Gabriela Women’s Party and condemning the red-tagging of progressive women leaders is important in addressing the gender disparity in Philippine politics and asserting for genuine representation. God knows we need it.