Red-tagging, halting distribution of KWF books with “anti-Marcos, anti-Duterte” content, acts of idiocy

“The red-tagging and halting of the distribution of the five books of renowned Filipino writers Malou Jacob, Rommel Rodriguez, Dexter Cayanes, Don Pagusara and Reuel Aguila which were published by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino are shameless and idiotic acts,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, as she scored another attack on academic freedom and censorship of scholarly work.

“Those responsible for these acts are deranged individuals who use their platforms or their previous or current association with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to deny the public with much-needed literature and materials encouraging critical thinking and knowledge on Filipino history and language,” she added.

Palabay said that the recent memorandum, issued within the KWF to stop the publication and distribution of the books tagging them as “subversive,” “anti-government,” and with “anti-Marcos, anti-Duterte” content, sets a dangerous precedent in the exercise of academic freedom and the promotion of creative and scholarly work.

“We condemn the halt of publication and distribution of the books, which were all produced out of the laborious creative and scholarly work of writers and members of the academe. We denounce the red-tagging of KWF chairperson Dr. Arthur Casanova and the authors of the said publications,” Palabay said.

Karapatan also called on members of the academe, the scholarly community, and writers to stand against censorship and continuous attacks on academic freedom and the freedom of opinion and expression. “After the purging of books in libraries and the red-tagging and defacement of bookstores, in the context of numerous attacks on civil liberties and human rights, these acts show that there is a systematic attempt to stifle these freedoms, all in the name of counterinsurgency and the terror law,” she stated.

“It is pitiful that this happens on Buwan ng Wika, but this proves that freedom of opinion and expression continues to be under attack under the Marcos-Duterte regime. Only a paranoid government is afraid of books,” said Palabay.