A group of BTS fans in Cavite who earlier set up their own community pantry was linked to the communist rebellion online because of their name.
The group called ARMY Cavite Fanbase clarified that the name “ARMY” is not associated with the New People’s Army.
ARMY is the official fandom name of BTS’ fans across the world. It translates to “Adorable MCs for the Youth.”
The group pointed this out in a statement on Facebook on April 21.
“Kami po sa ARMY Cavite Fanbase ay mga simpleng fan at Pilipino na gustong makatulong sa pamamagitan ng aming community pantry,” they said.
“Hindi po kami miyembro ng NPA. Hindi po porket ARMY ang pangalan ng fandom namin ay kasama na kami,” they added.
They made this clarification after receiving many messages that tagged them to the communist rebels.
They also attached screenshots of Facebook comments that alleged them to be distributing leaflets that supposedly spread communist propaganda.
“Marami po kaming messages na nakikita na nang rered tag sa amin. Lawakan po ating pag-iisip dahil ang mga ganitong komento ay walang nagagawa kundi pananakit,” they said.
“Lastly, wala po kaming binibigay na leaflet na naglalaman ng propagandang terorista. Baka po BTS stickers pa ang ibigay namin sa inyo. Maraming salamat po (crying emoji),” they added.
Another fanpage of Filipino ARMYs called Bangtan PH also denounced the red-tagging comments. They also thanked the group for their community pantry initiative in Cavite.
“As Filipinos and as ARMYs, we are burdened. This is so sad and disappointing. But aside from this, we truly appreciate your efforts for our fellow countrymen. Salute!” read the post.
A fan of Korean group EXO named Kristine Santos also replicated the same program in Malabon City where she also displayed standees and photos of the group members.
Other EXO-Ls, the official fandom name of EXO, also joined in and donated to her pantry after Santos posted about it on Facebook.
“EXO is a source of happiness namin, magshare din kami ng happiness,” she told the AdChoiceTV News in an interview.
Resident Ana Patricia Non who started the community pantry initiative also previously revealed that she experienced getting red-tagged.
Other organizers and volunteers have also similarly echoed similar experiences of local police inquiring their personal information.
The online accusations prompted her to temporarily suspend operations of the program.
Non, along with other volunteers, reopened the Maginhawa Pantry to the public on Wednesday.
In a previous interview, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. admitted that the agency was indeed conducting background checks on some groups who are running community pantries.
Reporting Albert Rovic Tan / AdChoiceTV News Manila