‘Not justified’: Palace nixes proposal to defund NTF-ELCAC

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021   •   652

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday opposed calls of some lawmakers to defund the government’s counterinsurgency task force.

In a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the proposal of some senators to defund the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is “unjustified” since it uses its funds to help develop local communities.

“Ang pagkakaalam ko po yung pondo ng ELCAC ay para po sa mga proyekto na magbibigay ng asenso at progreso sa mga lugar na mayroon pang rebelde” he said.

“So sa akin po, hindi naman po justified yan,” he added.

Roque said the task force should be allowed to perform its duties as long as there is a clear policy for its actions.

Some senators issued the call after NTF-ELCAC’s spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. said that they are checking the background of community pantry organizers following reports that communist groups are using these initiatives to spread their propaganda against the government.

Roque also reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte supports the community pantry initiatives and that such effort should continue to help those in need amid the coronavirus pandemic.

When asked if the Palace will restrain Parlade from issuing any more statements against community pantry organizers, Roque said he would reach out to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on the matter since Parlade reports to him.

Duterte appoints Antonio Parlade to Nat’l Security Council

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed retired military general Antonio Parlade as deputy director general of the National Security Council (NSC), Malacañang said Thursday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that the president signed Parlade’s appointment on Sept. 8.

Parlade retired as head of the military’s Southern Luzon Command in July.

“Deputy Director-General Parlade faithfully served the Armed Forces of the Philippines for many years until his retirement from the service,” Roque said.

“We are therefore confident that his length of fruitful service in the military would immensely contribute in the crafting of plans and policies affecting national security,” he added.

Parlade previously served as spokesperson for the government’s Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict.

He became controversial for his remarks linking some organizers of community pantries to the communist group. Some senators even called for his resignation and proposed defunding the task force over the issue.

In a separate statement, Parlade thanked Duterte for the “renewed trust and confidence.”

“Another opportunity to continue serving our people in a different capacity. Time to take care of unfinished business,” he said.

Esperon hopes petition to Comelec vs. partylist groups resolved before 2022 polls

Maris Federez   •   August 16, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. hopes that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will resolve the two separate petitions filed by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) before the 2022 National Elections.

“Since there will be a registration of parties for the coming elections, we certainly pray and are confident that the COMELEC will resolve these petitions,” Esperon said.

The NTF-ELCAC believes the two petitions they filed before Comelec is a national security issue that needs to be resolved immediately.

The government task force filed separate petitions against Gabriela Women’s Party and Kabataan Partylist groups for the cancellation of their registration in the partylist system for violating the election law and the Constitution.

According to NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Atty. Marlon Bosantog who filed the petitions, they have evidence that Kabataan Partylist is linked to CPP-NPA-NDF.

“We have a witness from the time it was created, to its constitution, to its purpose. We have witnesses that testify the recruitment of the Kabataan Partylist as a funnel of NPA fighters,” Bosantog said.

“We have testimonies to show that the current sitting representative of Kabataan Partylist personally recruited and inform them to go to the mountains and bear arms against the government,” he added.

On August 12, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon testified before Comelec 2nd Division via teleconference regarding the task force’s petition against Gabriela Partylist.

NTF-ELCAC said Gabriela is receiving financial assistance from a foreign government and from non-government organizations which violates the Constitution and Comelec rules.

“And upon further verification by AMLC, we found out that Gabriela has been receiving funds from the Belgian government as well as Belgian NGO as well as other NGO’s in Europe,” Esperon said.

However, Gabriela Partylist Representative Arlene Brosas refuted the allegations, accusing the ELCAC of spreading lies.

“Puro mga kasinungalingan. Kung anu-anong claims po ang mga sinasabi sa atin diyan sa pagkakaso sa atin sa COMELEC dahil ang gusto talaga ay hindi tayo makatakbo,” Brosas said.

Kabataan partylist group, meanwhile, has yet to comment on the issue. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Community pantries sa Metro Manila, hindi muna papayagang magbukas sa ilalim ng ECQ – Abalos

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Ipagbabawal muna ang operasyon ng community pantries sa Metro Manila habang nasa ilalim ng enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) ang rehiyon.

Ayon kay Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos, napagkasunduan ito ng mga alkalde sa Metro Manila upang mapigilan ang super spreader events.

“As much as possible kasi ang purpose ng ECQ ay talagang huwag lumabas ng bahay, kung magpapa-pila tayo sa labas at magbibigay tayo, baka magkagulo (ang mga tao),” ani Abalos.

Isasailalim sa ECQ ang Metro Manila simula sa Agosto 6 hanggang sa Agosto 20.

Sa panahong ito, tanging essential o mahahalagang biyahe at serbisyo lamang ang papayagan. Mas pinahaba rin ang curfew hours sa Metro Manila mula alas-8 ng gabi hanggang alas-4 ng madaling araw.

Layunin ng hakbang na mapigilan ang lalo pang pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa harap na rin ng banta ng mga mas nakakahawang coronavirus variants.

Ngunit paglilinaw ni Abalos, maaari pa rin namang magsagawa ng outreach programs kung nais ng sinuman na makatulong sa mga nangangailangan ngunit dapat ay gawin ito sa mas maayos na paraan.

“Siguro kung talagang gustong tumulong, wala namang problema ro’n pero siguro gumawa tayo ng magandang sistema,” ani Abalos.

Payo ng MMDA sa mga organizer ng community pantries, makipag-ugnayan muna sa mga lokal na pamahalaan para sa gagawin nilang sistema ng distribusyon ng ayuda, gaya ng paghahatid sa bahay ng mga magiging benepisyaryo nito. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Marvin Calas)

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