Students and teachers denounce the 80th IB and DepEd-Rizal's collusion in the Red-tagging campaign in high schools

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The 80th IB and the Department of Education (DepEd)-Rizal faced widespread condemnation from youth groups and teachers over its recent series of Red-tagging campaigns in several high schools in the province of Rizal. The most recent of these was the admittance of the 80th IB at Cainta Senior High School and Taytay Senior High School on May 22 and at Antonio Esguerra Sinior High School on May 23.

Anakbayan-Rizal reports that military seminars blatantly labeled progressive organizations such as Anakbayan, Kabataan Partylist, and other democratic youth organizations as “terrorists.” While the “seminars” were being launched, armed soldiers surrounded the school and students.

Students and even their parents were required to participate in these seminars. The students said that they were surprised that the activity involved purely Red-tagging despite claiming it was “leadership training.” During the activity itself, the military distributed pamphlets related to “CTG” recruitment which maliciously linked discussions, rallies and collective activities of young people to “terrorism.”

This joint military and DepEd program is being implemented under the Community Information Awareness and Approach Program (CIAAP) by virtue of Provincial Resolution No. 3, Series of 2023. It authorizes the military to freely enter schools in the pursuit of “anti-terrorism” campaigns. They mainly target students in senior high schools.

“[Their] sole agenda is to miseducate students and disable them from being critical and promoting real change. Their intervention only causes fear, and harm to students, teachers, and parents,” Anakbayan-Rizal said.

The exposure of the 80th IB’s Red-tagging and interference in Rizal schools prompted the National Task Force-Elcac, its mercenary “alliance of mass organization” Sambayanan, and military units to successively issue “statements of support” to vigorously defend the 80th IB’s Red-tagging.

Law against Red-tagging

Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raoul Manuel and ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro also denounced the 80th IB’s actions in Rizal schools. Amid all these, they demanded that Congress push for, and legislate, sanctions against red-taggers.

“We urge Congress to expedite proposals that illegalize red-tagging and punish those who engage in this despicable activity,” said Rep. Castro.

Rep. Manuel said the military’s actions is proof that the Marcos government leads the Red-tagging campaign. “Public funds are being squandered for these Red-tagging and terror-tagging seminars and pamphlets,” he said.

They both stressed that the government should only allocate public funds to providing quality education and protecting the youth.

“In line with the Supreme Court decision, we will study the possible legal actions to investigate and hold accountable those behind it,” Rep. Manuel added.

AB: Students and teachers denounce the 80th IB and DepEd-Rizal's collusion in the Red-tagging campaign in high schools