Focus on disaster response, not ‘vanity projects,’ red-tagging – rights group to PH | Inquirer News
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Focus on disaster response, not ‘vanity projects,’ red-tagging – rights group to PH

/ 06:13 AM November 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government should drop its red-tagging activities and “vanity projects” and instead use funds on disaster response, the Asia-Pacific Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (APCHRP) said in a statement issued on Monday.

“The Philippines faces a state of calamity not only for the severe weather phenomena but because of the humanitarian crisis and extreme government neglect,” APCHRP spokesperson Sr. Patricia Fox said.

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“All the more reason for the Duterte administration to devote all resources to the humanitarian recovery efforts,” she added.

Fox is the Australian nun who spent years doing missionary work in the Philippines but was deported in 2018 for being critical of the government.

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According to her, the APCHRP believes the budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Insurgency (NTF-ELCAC) and the money used for the Manila Bay artificial white sand project could be better used to help survivors of the last three typhoons — Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses — that hit Luzon.

“It makes no sense” to allot a budget oif P19 billion to the NTF-ELCAC considering its “track record of fake news and baseless red-tagging of civilians and humanitarian groups,” Fox said.

But earlier, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa defended the NTF-ELCAC budget as necessary to stop the communist insurgency. He then likened its efforts to courtship, with the government funding it to woo barangays away from the communist movement.

NTF-ELCAC has been facing several controversies as of late, with lawmakers seeking to defund the agency.

Last October, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., NTF-ELCAC member and chief of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, drew flak for allegedly red-tagging actress Angel Locsin while advising celebrities Liza Soberano and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray against involvement with Gabriela party-list.

Gabriela is a group often linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). Parlade gave his advice to Soberano after the actress spoke in an online forum for women’s rights that Gabriela hosted.

Then just recently, NTF-ELCAC’s star resource person, Jeffrey Celiz, red-tagged Nestor Burgos Jr., a veteran Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter, saying that he was a member of the underground movement.

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Over the weekend, news outlet CNN Philippines was asked by Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy whether it was true that a League of Filipino Students (LFS) and College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) bloc inside their newsroom, after the outfit shared donation drives conducted by the two groups.

Badoy is the spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC, while LFS and CEGP are two youth groups tagged as front organizations of the CPP-NPA.

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TAGS: #RollyPH, #UlyssesPH, APCHRP, Asia-Pacific Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, NTF-ELCAC, Patricia Fox, red-tagging, typhoon response
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