Quite recently, Facebook took down two separate networks that violated the policy on “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” One was based in China and the other in the Philippines. In one of the images from these pages, as shared by Facebook’s head of security policy, included the logo of Holy Angel University and tagged as a “recruitment haven” for communists in Central Luzon.
The Angelite, the official student publication of Holy Angel University, welcomes the stand of the school administration in urging the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to shed light on these fake accounts. The publication however strongly disagrees with the notion that an article written by a columnist is the only basis of the red-tagging in the university.
The use of red-tagging is already being utilized by the Duterte regime to blatantly intimidate, and harass progressive activists, teachers, civilians, and even prominent religious figures. We have witnessed subpoenas being sent to public school teachers who are merely expressing their frustration in social media, student leaders being tagged as New People’s Army (NPA) recruiters including the Editorial Board of The Angelite who were labeled by a page similar to the troll pages that were busted by Facebook. Even prominent nuns such as Missionary Benedictine Sr. Mary John Mananzan was tagged as a high ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) by a government official.
It is also good to point out that Holy Angel University has once denounced killings of progressive priests who are active in societal discussions concerning human rights, the war on drugs, and peace talks. Recently, the University president condemned the railroading of the Anti-Terror Law. These could be any one of many reasons as to why the University is now being red-tagged.
The Angelite, the official student publication of Holy Angel University, challenges the school administration to stand against red-tagging of activists, nuns, priests, and ordinary Filipinos who are critical of the Duterte administration. The University must stand as a line of defense for the students and faculty, to practice academic freedom without the threat of being tagged as a terrorist or an enemy of the state. At a grave time wherein the lives of fellow Angelites are in danger, playing safe is not an option.
Angelites are now critical more than ever, and so the threat of being tagged as an enemy of the state will always be present. We expect that our alma matter will stand along with the student body in fulfilling our social responsibility in being critical citizens of this country.
Despite the threat and the danger during these times where being a critical activist or journalist is equivalent to being a terrorist, The Angelite will still remain vigorous and determined in exposing the rotten core of the Duterte regime until his very last day.