Ibon Foundation: Duterte gov’t ‘red-tagging’ meant to silence dissent

Jodesz Gavilan

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Ibon Foundation, a policy research group formed in 1978, says 'the public deserves the truth and to be informed about the issues that matter to them the most'

MANILA, Philippines – Policy research group Ibon Foundation on Thursday, January 30, condemned the “persistent raid-baiting” of the Duterte administration instead of addressing the issues raised by progressive groups.

“The public deserves the truth and to be informed about the issues that matter to them the most,” the group said. “Instead, the government is red-baiting critical voices to silence opposition and to hide the real situation of the country.” 

The statement comes after an episode of One News’ The Chiefs where Ibon research head Rosario Guzman and Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy discussed the numbers cited by the Duterte Legacy campaign. (READ: Making sense of the ‘Duterte Legacy’ infographic)

Ibon presented its own fact-checking of the data. Badoy, however, accused the group of being part of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). 

According to the group, Badoy’s action is “symptomatic of the administration’s wholesale attacks on independent groups,” in line with the government’s counterinsurgency campaign. 

“Usec Badoy’s behavior is being done to hide the worsening economic situation, prevent the radical reforms needed to develop the country, and promote its self-serving agenda,” Ibon said.

“Under the pretext of ending the armed Communist rebellion, the Duterte administration cast its net wide and is attacking every group that is critical of its anti-people economic policies and authoritarianism,” it added.

The Duterte government has been widely criticized for its treatment of human rights defenders and activists in the Philippines. According to rights group Karapatan, at least 2,370 human rights defenders have been charged by the government from 2016 to 2019, the biggest number in more than a decade. (READ: Duterte’s war on dissent)

Ibon, a policy group focused on socioeconomic issues founded in 1978, was previously tagged by the Philippine government as among groups whose funding was allegedly being used by the CPP. It has previously experienced cyberattacks against its website

The group vows to push forward with its work amid greater attacks by the government.

“As with activists and other groups, we are undeterred and will continue to support the efforts of the people’s movement to reclaim the economy from the elites that have taken it over,” it said. “We will also be taking measures to show that we do not condone the people’s money being used for a self-serving political agenda.” – Rappler.com

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and impunity beats, producing in-depth and investigative reports particularly on the quest for justice of victims of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and war on dissent.