At a time when people cannot take their protests to the streets, for health and safety reasons, people are taking it to their tweets.
Activism isn’t terrorism, after all. And these people understand that for real changes to occur, public awareness and education are the ultimate stepping stone.
Let’s take the #YesToRedLipstick social media campaign as a brilliant example.
Where did the #YesToRedLipstick campaign originate?
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#NoToRedTagging #YesToRedLipstick ? To set the record straight, hindi po ako parte ng NPA or any terrorist group ?. Neither my sister nor my kuya Neri is a part of the NPA or any terrorist group. We live in a country where our freedom to speak and express ourselves are enshrined and protected by the Constitution. May paniniwala ako, may paniniwala sila, may paniniwala ka. At sa ilalim ng Consitution, pareho tayong mayroong karapatan sa ating mga sariling paniniwala. Kung mag kaiba tayo, hindi ibig sabihin pwede mo na ako i-red tag. Hindi tayo magkakalaban dito. Hindi rin ako “red”. Magkaiba lang tayo ng paniniwala. Nanawagan po ako sa kinauukulan, na itama po ang mali na ito. Tigilan na po ang red tagging. The statement made is utterly false and places ordinary citizens like us, those who they swore to protect, in danger. Nakakalungkot po isipin na dito napupunta ang malaking halaga na 19.3B, sa mga paratang na walang basehan at pananakot na red tagging. Sana ibigay na lang po sa ibang departamento ng AFP katulad ng medical reserve corps o pagtaas ng sweldo at pension ng mga sundalo natin. Malaking tulong rin po for purchasing vaccines or other covid response programs. Many of our country men need financial assistance. Mga OFW na nawalan ng trabaho. Madaming mas nangangailangan ng pera ngayon. Sana doon na lang ilaan at sana doon ibuhos ang oras. I am also appealing to everyone to express support for those being red-tagged like Liza Soberano, Catriona Grey, and all the others just because they are expressing their beliefs peacefully By being vocal about my opinions and advocacies, I have always been attacked. Those I could ignore but this is a different level altogether. And so I have to speak up once again because this baseless and reckless red-tagging jeopardizes not only my safety, but also the safety of my sister and our family. ?
A post shared by Angel Locsin (@therealangellocsin) on
Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. of the AFP Southern Luzon Command and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Insurgency is not the most popular person among socially aware Filipinos. He’s been known to call government critics communist rebels, otherwise known as “red tagging.”
Red tagging is a malicious labeling of persons or groups critical of the current administration. Amnesty International deems it a “vicious and at times deadly practice,” as Parlade referenced in one of his chilling statements.
Parlade gave an ominous warning to actress Liza Soberano and beauty queen Catriona Gray after the former spoke about violence against women and children on a Gabriela Youth webinar.
“The choice is yours,” the military official said. He reminded them of what happened to Josephine Lapira, a student activist who didn’t survive an encounter with armed authorities three years ago.
“Don’t follow the path Ka Ella Colmenares took,” Parlade continued. “I am sure Angel Locsin and Neri Colmenares will not tell you this.” As if his initial statement wasn’t enough to raise some eyebrows, many people assumed that this follow-up is red-tagging another socially active actress Angel Locsin.
In an interview with host Karen Davila, Parlade claimed he wasn’t red-tagging the actress. He said he was just raising public awareness that the actress’s sister is involved in communist activities.
Ella Colmenares took to Twitter to clarify that she is not involved with the New People’s Army. “I believe in the protection of women’s rights and human rights,” she said, as do millions of Filipinos across the country. “That doesn’t mean that I’m a member of the NPA.” But the damage had already been done.
As a prominent public figure, Angel Locsin decided to make a statement about the situation:
“We live in a country where our freedom to speak and express ourselves are enshrined and protected by the Constitution,” she said. “Kung magkaiba tayo, hindi ibig sabihin puwede mo na ako i-red-tag. Hindi tayo magkakalaban dito […] Magkaiba lang tayo ng paniniwala.”
She urged people to say #NoToRedTagging and to not be careless with their accusations. She posted it with a photo that sparked the #YesToRedLipstick campaign.
How did people react to the #YesToRedLipstick campaign?
A bit late to the party, but with more conviction than ever.
We stand with all vocal Filipinos using their platform to speak truth to power & advocate for change. #NoToRedTagging #YesToRedLipstick #DefundNTFelcac #JunkTerrorLaw #ActivismIsNotTerrorism #DefendFilipinoWomen pic.twitter.com/gPwuNxAFSh
— Bacolod Youth Alliance (@bya_ph) October 27, 2020
The #YesToRedLipstick campaign is a refreshing take on an issue that has sparked so much fear, worry, and anxiety among Filipinos who actively voice out their social, political, and economic concerns.
Red lipstick is an instant confidence boost, and Angel Locsin’s social media campaign empowered people to speak up and let their voices be heard. Some of her colleagues in the entertainment industry bravely backed her up.
Pia Magalona shared her #YesToRedLipstick selfie on Twitter “in solidarity with empowered women and in support of Filipinos who are trying to be silenced by the powers that be.”
In solidarity with empowered women and in support of Filipinos who are trying to be silenced by the powers that be.
— Pia Magalona ⁷ #DefendOurFreedom (@piamagalona) October 23, 2020
“Pinagpapasalamat ko na ako ay isinilang sa isang Bayan na malaya, may demokrasya at nirerespeto ang aking karapatan bilang tao, babae at mamamayan,” Cherry Pie Picache says on Instagram. Her post salutes the candor of Angel Locsin and Liza Soberano for using their platforms to speak about issues that are worthy of immediate public discussion.
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Pinagpapasalamat ko na ako ay isinilang sa isang Bayan na malaya, may demokrasya at nirerespeto ang aking karapatan bilang tao, babae at mamamayan❤️? #yestoredlipstick #notoredtagging #westandwithangellocsin #westandwithlizasoberaño #westandwithcatrionagray #westandwithempoweredwomen #aktorph Cover them Mama Mary with Your mantle of love and protection? #amdg
A post shared by Cherry Pie Picache (@yescppicache) on
It’s a comforting thought — that so many of these individuals are socially aware and using their platform to bring relevant issues to light. Many people are hesitant to speak up for fear of being red-tagged. But inspired by #YesToRedLipstick and supported by so many others who believe in the same principles, you, too, can confidently speak your truth.