Angel Locsin has a dilemma: if she continues with her relief operations for typhoon victims, the beneficiaries and volunteers might also be red-tagged alongside her.
In an interview with ABS-CBN’s “TeleRadyo” last Saturday, October 31, Locsin broke down in tears when she bared these fears following the recent accusations of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. at her and her sister, Ella Colmenares.
“Parang itong parating na bagyo, ‘di mo alam kung lalabas ka ngayon para tumulong. Ewan ko, baka iyong puntahan ko baka ma-red tag kami, baka madamay,” Locsin said.
“Siyempre wala naman kaming ganoong resources kagaya nila para protektahan ang sarili namin,” she added.
Locsin is known for her philanthropic activities for years, especially after powerful cyclones and at the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns from March to June. Earlier this year, she and her fiancé, Neil Arce, provided shelter, medical supplies and other relief goods for health workers and other front liners.
Recently, Parlade, also the spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), aired his suspicion that Locsin and her sister are members of an underground group of New People’s Army-Quezon.
While Locsin has thrived in the entertainment scene since her teens, Colmenares is an environmental and animal welfare activist.
Following these accusations, Locsin dared the NTF-ELCAC to raise these issues at the proper forum instead of “red-tagging” her and her sister.
“Kung mayroon silang sapat na katibayan, bakit hindi nila kami idemanda? Tutal sigurado sila, may source sila, intent sila, bakit nagkakamali pa po sila sa ebidensya. Pero hindi e, gusto nilang sirain kami sa social media,” she said.
While she recognized that Parlade was only doing his job, Locsin repeatedly denied being affiliated with the communist insurgency and stressed that she has opposed the recruitment of children to be trained for armed conflict.
She also launched an online protest through the hashtags #YesToRedLipstick and #NoToRedTagging which was supported by her colleagues and fans.
View this post on Instagram
#NoToRedTagging #YesToRedLipstick 😅 To set the record straight, hindi po ako parte ng NPA or any terrorist group 😅. Neither my sister nor my kuya Neri is a part of the NPA or any terrorist group. We live in a country where our freedom to speak and express ourselves are enshrined and protected by the Constitution. May paniniwala ako, may paniniwala sila, may paniniwala ka. At sa ilalim ng Consitution, pareho tayong mayroong karapatan sa ating mga sariling paniniwala. Kung mag kaiba tayo, hindi ibig sabihin pwede mo na ako i-red tag. Hindi tayo magkakalaban dito. Hindi rin ako “red”. Magkaiba lang tayo ng paniniwala. Nanawagan po ako sa kinauukulan, na itama po ang mali na ito. Tigilan na po ang red tagging. The statement made is utterly false and places ordinary citizens like us, those who they swore to protect, in danger. Nakakalungkot po isipin na dito napupunta ang malaking halaga na 19.3B, sa mga paratang na walang basehan at pananakot na red tagging. Sana ibigay na lang po sa ibang departamento ng AFP katulad ng medical reserve corps o pagtaas ng sweldo at pension ng mga sundalo natin. Malaking tulong rin po for purchasing vaccines or other covid response programs. Many of our country men need financial assistance. Mga OFW na nawalan ng trabaho. Madaming mas nangangailangan ng pera ngayon. Sana doon na lang ilaan at sana doon ibuhos ang oras. I am also appealing to everyone to express support for those being red-tagged like Liza Soberano, Catriona Grey, and all the others just because they are expressing their beliefs peacefully By being vocal about my opinions and advocacies, I have always been attacked. Those I could ignore but this is a different level altogether. And so I have to speak up once again because this baseless and reckless red-tagging jeopardizes not only my safety, but also the safety of my sister and our family. 💋
‘In Defense of Darna’
Locsin’s outreach activities and her being outspoken on national and social issues earned her the title of the “real-life” Darna, the Filipino super-heroine she played in a series before.
Following her interview on TeleRadyo, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines praised Locsin for her offscreen work.
“In standing up for her name, her family and loved ones, and the interests of indigenous peoples and other oppressed sectors, Locsin again proves herself a real-life counterpart to Darna, the fictive post-war heroine from Philippine komiks to cinema,” the CAP said.
“Let us always remember that artists are citizens and have every right to speak out and be concerned with the issues affecting society and the people,” it added.
Some Filipinos on Twitter, meanwhile, lauded the actress for passionately challening the military’s accusations.
"Anong klaseng intelligence ang meron sila kung yung mga simpleng facts, nagkakamali pa sila?"
— MENCH (@menchongdeee) October 31, 2020
— Engineers for PH 🇵🇭 (@EngrsOfMNL) October 31, 2020
A volunteer teacher who goes by the Twitter handle @maykamaykaba, meanwhile, empathized with Locsin.
“Isipin mo, ikaw na nga yung tumutulong, ikaw pa yung ituturing na masama?
The user also attached a collage of Locsin’s old photos of her visits to victims of typhoons Ondoy and Yolanda, the Marawi siege, the earthquake in Mindanao, the Taal eruption and the affected Filipinos during the pandemic.
Angel Locsin (@143redangel): Hindi ko magawa ang outreach sa ngayon dahil natatakot ako na madamay (sa red-tagging) ang mga taong tinutulungan ko.
— mayka #SaveLumadSchools 🌻 (@maykamaykaba) November 1, 2020
Locsin recently became a recipient of local and international accolades for her altruism, including being named on Tatler Asia’s annual the Gen. T List and Forbes Asia’s prestigious Heroes of Philanthropy in 2019.
Meanwhile, Locsin and her sister are not the only celebrities Parlade has been red-tagging, having previously warned Liza Soberano and Catriona Gray for their perceived association with the Gabriela Women’s Party, which the NTF-ELCAC claimed is a front organization of communist rebels.
Due to severe online backlash Parlade received, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año had to declare he does not believe the celebrities are working with the NPA but he nevertheless defended the general.
“Angel Locsin, Catriona Gray, Liza Soberano, they must be respected and protected. I do not believe that they are in any way part of the New People’s Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines,” he said in an interview.