Parlade: If senators have problem with me, don’t drag entire NTF-Elcac
MANILA, Philippines — Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), on Thursday asked senators not to drag the entire task force by defunding it.
“If the senators have a problem with me, don’t drag the entire NTF-ELCAC,” Parlade said in a text message to INQUIRER.net, in response to questions about calls to reallocate the NTF-Elcac’s P19-billion budget amid recent issues of red-tagging.
“Defund it? It’s the communities and people’s development fund that you are taking back. Not mine or not NTF-ELCAC’s,” Parlade he further said. “You know what you signed for in the GAA (General Appropriations Act).”
At least six senators have expressed the need to withdraw funding for the NTF-ELCAC and instead re-allocate its budget to fund assistance to people affected by the pandemic.
These senators include senators from both the majority and minority blocs such as Senators Joel Villanueva, Risa Hontiveros, Sherwin Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, Franklin Drilon, and Grace Poe.
Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that instead of defunding NTF-ELCAC, “irresponsible” officials of the agency should just be replaced.
“I believe the NTF-Elcac (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) program is good. Defunding it would give back the gains of [government] to the rebels,” Sotto said in a message to reporters.
Ana Patricia Non, the businesswoman behind the pioneering Maginhawa community pantry, earlier temporarily halted the operations of the Maginhawa community pantry over “red-tagging” allegations.
One of the screenshots included in Non’s Facebook post showed that the NTF-Elcac shared posts in social media that stated that community pantries are being used for propaganda of communist groups.
Parlade earlier said the task force has nothing to do with red-tagging community pantries and its organizers, adding that they are just “checking” the situation of community pantries to make sure that organizers do not have any other agenda.