Gabriela, NGOs slam red-tagging by AFP, Defense Dept.

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 6)- A women's party and two non-government organizations denied accusations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense that they are communist fronts.

The Gabriela Women’s Party, Oxfam sa Pilipinas, and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) were among the 18 organizations listed as communist fronts and presented by AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence Major General Reuben Basiao in a briefing at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

“Sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang Konstitusyon at mga batas, hindi krimen ang mag-organisa at hindi krimen ang maging aktibista,” Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said in a statement. "Gabriela Women’s Party is a duly elected partylist representative, tapos sinasabi niyong terorista kami? […] Kaya nga nandito ang Gabriela sa kongreso dahil we participate sa gobyerno. In fact, Gabriela Women’s Party authored hundreds of pro- women and pro-poor laws, including the recently passed RA 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Law,"

Humanitarian organization Oxfam also denied the allegations about its Philippine arm.

“If our vision and mission in the Philippines have led to Oxfam being labelled a ‘local communist terrorist group’ or a funder of ‘communist terrorist groups,’ then we find this a most troubling situation. These allegations affect not only us, but also put the communities and partners we work with at risk,” it said in a statement.

Oxfam provides water, food, shelter, sanitation, and provides help in rebuilding livelihoods in disaster-affected areas in the country.

“In a country where poverty remains and poor communities are continually struck by disasters, we strongly believe that organizations like ours should be encouraged, rather than hindered, from undertaking our programs,” the group stressed.

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For its part, the NCCP said the allegation was an “attack” on its Christian faith and tradition. The NCCP is the largest non-Catholic church organization in the country.

“We will remain resolute in our prophetic witness and service to the people, even in the midst of shrinking democratic space and the rising impunity,”it said.

The police arrested three activists in a raid in Manila on Tuesday. Another 57 individuals were also arrested in simultaneous operations in Bacolod on October 31.