The first — and so far only — woman bishop of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) was among the recent victims of red-tagging in the Philippines.
On June 2, posters bearing the photo and name of Bishop Emelyn Gasco-Dacuycuy were found around Batac City, Ilocos Norte, also the location of her seat as diocesan prelate.
The postings declared: “Mag-ingat sa taong ito. NPA recruiter! (Beware, this person is an NPA recruiter!)”
Similar posters also identified as NPA recruiters her husband, Rev. Noel Dacuycuy, also of the Diocese of Batac; and Reverends Arvin Mangrobang and Randy Manicap, both of the adjacent Diocese of Laoag.
The June 2 postings were not a first brush with red-tagging for any of the four church people.
Red-tagging is an effort to defame progressive individuals by baselessly accusing them of connections with the communist movement in the Philippines, the armed wing of which is called the NPA or the New People’s Army.
Several red-tagging efforts have been connected to the government agency National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. Such brandishing has followed incidents of intimidation and even killings in many instances.
Rt. Rev. Dacuycuy and the three others identified by the malicious posts are seasoned human rights defenders and staunch advocates of people’s issues in Ilocos Norte province.
Husband Rev. Dacuycuy condemned the continuing and escalating cases of threats, harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders in the Ilocos Region and across the country, including incidents involving church people.
Rev. Dacuycuy, also the Chairperson of the IFI’s Council of Priests, believed the rampant red-tagging incidents have been the work of the military.
The priest called for an end to the vilification campaign against church people, and to the red-tagging of people and groups working for social justice.