Community journalist arrested in Bacolod raids

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – A community journalist was among the 57 people arrested by police and military operatives during simultaneous raids on the offices of progressive organizations in Bacolod City on October 31 and in Escalante City on November 1. Both cities are in Negros Occidental.

Bacolod City, Negros Occidental’s capital, is 784.6 kilometers south of Manila.

The arrested individuals were accused of being members of the New People’s Army (NPA) while the progressive groups were accused of being its “legal fronts.”

A pooled editorial by alternative media groups said Mary Anne Krueger of the alternative media outfit Paghimutad was identified by the military as the “Deputy Secretary for Cultural/Propaganda” and the “Deputy Secretary for Social Media” of a supposed regional committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Paghimutad, a new member of AlterMidya, a national network of independent and progressive media groups, has been covering human rights issues in the island. Krueger is also an organizer for the Bacolod chapter of the BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN). According to Rhea Padilla, AlterMidya national coordinator, Krueger began working as the network’s Negros correspondent only this year. She’s also a “barefoot reporter” for the local radio program “Kaling Kag Tugda” which reports on peasant issues. Padilla said Krueger has not received any such threats in the past as a member of the media. Her arrest was a first for her.

A social media post by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Krueger was one of the six individuals named in the search warrant issued by a Quezon City local court that was used to justify the raid of the offices of the progressive groups. She is detained at the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office, along with the others arrested.

“Red-tagging” is a dangerous practice commonly employed by state agents against the media and progressive groups. The most recent instances recorded by CMFR were those of two Cagayan de Oro-based journalists and the general manager of a Central Luzon-based TV station in September this year.