Smeared and vilified by Duterte, activists in the Philippines are fighting back

By Josef Benedict, civic space researcher at CIVICUS

One tactic that CIVICUS has seen increasingly being used by the government to target activists and NGOs is to label them as “terrorists” or “communist fronts”, particularly those who have been critical of Duterte’s deadly “war on drugs” that has killed thousands. Such a process, known as “red-tagging” in the Philippines, often puts activists at grave risk of being targeted by the state and pro-government militias.

Undermining groups that are critical of the government has had serious repercussions in the Philippines. In June 2019 four left-wing activists died in a spate of killings perpetrated by unidentified gunmen. Prior to that, government officials had accused leftist groups that operate openly and legally of being “communists”. No one has been brought to justice for these killings.

Read on: New Naratif