NTF-ELCAC retains Parlade and Badoy as spokespersons, taps 6 more

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021   •   381

MANILA, Philippines – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Monday announced it has added more spokespersons to communicate its position on various matters to the public.

In an online press briefing, NTF-ELCAC vice chairperson and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said that the body will now have a total of eight spokespersons in a bid to “effectively communicate transparency and accountability” in its efforts.

Esperon identified the following as the task force’s spokespersons and their primary coverage:

  • Antonio Parlade Jr. (Security sector operations)
  • Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy (social media affairs, sectoral concerns)
  • Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya (local government affairs, barangay development program, international engagement)
  • Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat Undersecretary Severo Catura (international affairs, peace process, human rights concerns)
  • Presidential Task Force on Media Security executive director Jose Joel Sy Egco (mass media engagements, fact-checker)
  • Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago (NTF-ELCAC public affairs and information, youth concerns)
  • Marlon Bosantog (legal affairs indigenous peoples concerns)
  • Gaye Florendo (assistant spokesperson on NTF-ELCAC public affairs and on indigenous peoples concerns)

“These eight spokespersons come from different agencies of government. The designation of officials under the expanded pool of spokespersons allows for a focused discourse and engagement with the public on each spokesperson’s respective thematic coverage,” Esperon said.

The NTF-ELCAC’s announcement comes after Parlade and Badoy were criticized for their statements on some community pantry organizers and their possible link to the communist movement.

“The CPP-NPA is a multi-faceted, multilayered (organization)… Joma Sison has already told us that they have underground mass organizations that actually control or infiltrate the good organizations or control organizations that they have actually organized,” Esperon said when asked to explain the need to strengthen the task force’s communication system.

“Just like the NPA, we have to cover everything,” he added

Esperon also said that all departments at the national and local levels, as well as regional and provincial task forces of the NTF-ELCAC, shall be appointing their spokespersons for matters related to the task force “in the interest of harmonizing public information and communications activities.”

“The National Task Force is composed of practically all agencies of government. We are just drawing the support and pool of talents from all government agencies,” he said.

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)

Parlade retires from military service; Bacarro assumes post as new SOLCOM chief

Robie de Guzman   •   July 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) commander Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. has formally retired from the military service, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Monday.

A joint change of command and retirement ceremony, presided by AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana, was held on Sunday, July 25, at the SOLCOM Headquarters in Camp Nakar, Quezon Province.

In a statement, Sobejana cited Parlade’s contributions, including his campaign to eradicate the operations of communist terrorist groups in Southern Luzon.

“Southern Luzon Command, under Lt.Gen. Parlade, certainly ensured that the people of Southern Tagalog and Bicol Region are free from the influence of the enemies of the state, who continuously resort to violence, intimidation, and deception in pursuing their crooked interests and vile goals,” Sobejana said.

“As Commander of SOLCOM, Lt.Gen. Parlade pursued the effective and timely implementation of Campaign Plans that aim to finally neutralize or destroy the remaining communist terrorist groups (CTGs) operating in Southern Luzon,” he added.

“Working hand-in-hand with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, SOLCOM was able to address insurgency in the region through combat operations and by addressing the root causes of insurgency.”

The AFP also said that Parlade led the Command in implementing stakeholder engagements and community support programs to identify and address issues that the CTGs exploit for their propaganda.

He also led SOLCOM in the activation of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Task Groups, in close coordination with Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils, which enabled the Command to promptly respond to any eventualities, especially during the recent eruptions of Taal volcano.

“Indeed, SOLCOM, under the leadership of Lt.Gen. Parlade, is always ready to safeguard the people of Southern Luzon from whatever danger or unwanted circumstances that threaten the security environment in the area of operations,” Sobejana said.

Parlade is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Hinirang” Class of 1987.

The AFP said Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division commander Major General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro will replace Parlade as the new SOLCOM chief.

Bacarro is a member of the PMA “Maringal” Class of 1988.

He previously served as the Commandant of the PMA Cadet Corps and as Internal Auditor of the AFP, Chief of Staff of 4th Infantry Division, Commander of 502nd Infantry Brigade, and also the Head of the AFP-ELCAC.

He is also a graduate of the US Army Command & General Staff Course in Kansas, USA.

Bacarro was awarded the Medal of Valor “for acts of conspicuous courage, gallantry, and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty” during an encounter with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Isabela in 1991.

“Major General Bacarro’s bravery and gallantry are beyond reproach. He is a leader who never leaves his men behind in the direst of situations,” Sobejana said.

“I expect that he will usher in more accomplishments and milestones not only for this command but also for the whole of Southern Luzon,” he added.

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