PHILIPPINES. Manila: Commander of Southern Luzon, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., stirs Filipinos after making a comment against local celebrity Liza Soberano. He commands the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Parlade replaced Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay as commander of Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Female celebrity supports advocacy for women
Liza Soberano joined a webinar for the International Day of the Girl Child organized by Gabriela Youth on 13 Oct. 2020. The webinar addressed the issues of abuse and violence that women and girls face today.
Soberano emotionally expressed her advocacy of the group on Zoom. She said, “I know a lot of women in my life who struggled with this and I find it so unfair that we women have to go out every day with the fear of being catcalled, of dressing a certain way and getting called out for the way we dressed.”
Angelina Jolie, Emma Watson, and Angel Locsin inspired her to start speaking up. More of her contemporaries are also taking a stand. Unfortunately, it caught the attention of an AFP military commander.
The military commander reacts to local celebrities
Military commander Lt. Gen. Parlade Jr. commented on Soberano’s support on 20 Oct. He said, “Let us not red-tag Liza Soberano. It is not fair to her. She is merely supporting advocacy for women’s rights. She has to be protected in the exercise of her rights. Is she an NPA (New People’s Army)? No, of course not. Not yet.”
Commander Parlade then gave Soberano the chance to renounce her support for the group. He said, “If you don’t, you will suffer the same fate as Josephine Anne Lapira, former Deputy Secretary-General of Gabriela Youth of UP Manila, and defender of women’s rights.”
He also added, “The choice is yours, Liza. And so with you, Catriona. Do not follow the path Ka Ella Colmenares (Locsin) took in the underground and NPA Quezon. I am sure Angel Locsin and Neri Colmenares will not tell you this.”
The group defends the actress
Gabriella Youth was quick to defend Soberano, Catriona Gray, and Angel Locsin against the Parlade. In a Transcontinental Times interview with Marielle Rugas, the chairperson of the group, she said, “Lt. Gen. Parlade Jr. red-tags our group for the longest time.”
Rugas told Transcontinental Times that the group addresses issues that women face in the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, they raise awareness of militant force agianst women. She said, “When you express yourself and raise concerns about the government, the military commander red-tags you.”
The AFP creates a graph of the matrix linking groups like these to terrorists with no proof. Rugas explained, “They filed against the Gabriela Youth last year. When you point out the mistakes of the government, you are red-tagged under the anti-terrorism law.”
Commander Parlade has made it clear he sees the women´s rights initiative as anti-government.“They are so violent against the people,” Rugas added.