[OPINION] Say “Yes!” to Red Lipstick

by Sofia Lubiano

Illustration by Danielle Toca

“Don’t tell me what to do, and don’t tell me what to say…” (You Don’t Own Me — Lesley Gore)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command Chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. warned Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, actresses Liza Soberano, Angel Locsin, and her activist sister, Ella Colmenares of their involvement in a left-leaning group, Gabriela Youth. He stated on his appearance on a television show that the celebrities might have the same fate as Josephine Lapira, a student activist who was killed in an encounter between the government and communist rebels. Parlade also claimed that this group is being used by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). He emphasized this group being but a façade for their anti-government movements, despite him having insufficient evidence for these illegitimate claims.

Many were shocked by this misogynistic approach of voicing opinion from a military official, a high ranking one at that, which was the reason why it gained so much attention all over the internet. Here are some of the comments from senators who directly opposed Gen. Antonio Parlade:

“General Antonio Parlade Jr. should be more cautious about his statements falsely accusing Liza Soberano and other celebrities for their civic-minded advocacies”

— Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan

“Red-tagging of Liza Soberano, Catriona Gray, Angel Locsin, and a host of organizations, without evidence, is simply ungentlemanly,”

— Senator Risa Hontiveros

As a matter of fact, The Commission on Human Rights showed deep concern with the statements released by Paralde to Soberano, saying it was “tantamount to harassment and red-tagging.” Due to the fact that these controversial words came from a military official, this issue gained numerous opinions from different perspectives. Statements like these from a person with authority might explicate suppression and restriction of voices that serve as a hindrance for powerful women to amplify their beliefs and societal advocacies in a male-dominated world.

Parlade however, denies accusing Soberano as he explains his statements were addressed to the bashers of the actress who are “red-tagging” her for expressing her legitimate concerns. “It is the netizens who were actually tagging her as communist, as a terrorist, that is why they are asking the supporters to boycott her programs,” Parlade said on a Senate defense committee’s hearing. Moreover, the military official also stated that he is supporting advocacies for women rights. He clearly emphasized that he had nothing against voicing out words for women empowerment, however, he was vocal on his opposition for left-leaning groups.

According to him, civic-minded groups like Gabriela Youth are a threat to society. He claims that an underground mass organization also known as Malayang Kilusan ng Makabagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA) is hiding under the face of Gabriela Youth. Nevertheless, despite being vocal on strengthening women rights, he resorted to red-tagging the celebrities all while downgrading their personal beliefs and opinions on women empowerment.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Each woman has her own way of conveying her own voice with respect to their moral standing and beliefs. Accusing groups with civic-related advocacies shows that the people in power have the capacity to silence the voices of people who stand up for their political and societal beliefs. As Filipinos, we must stand up against oppression and red-tagging; and as citizens, we must understand that a difference of political and societal perspective does not equate to terrorism.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sofia Lubiano

I am Sofia Corinth Lubiano and I am a reader. I would describe myself as eloquent and easy to talk to.

For some reason, I just like collecting books. It makes me feel so fascinated whenever I see my room filled with them. I just love the aroma of it and it magically makes me travel

around the world. I first joined journalism when I was in grade school and editorial writing was what I preferred to do up until this day.

-S.L.

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