Groups wary over ‘notorious Red-tagger’ Sara Duterte as NTF-Elcac exec
MANILA, Philippines — Several organizations have expressed caution about the designation of Vice President Sara Duterte as a vice chairperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).
In separate statements, the progressive groups said Red-tagging may worsen with the daughter of former president Rodrigo Duterte in the government’s anti-insurgency body. The NTF-Elcac was established during the reign of Duterte’s father.
For the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the NTF-Elcac is an oppressive tool from the previous administration that should be dissolved.
“With the designation of Sara Duterte, a notorious Red-tagger, as a co-vice chairperson of NTF-Elcac, this is all the more reason to demand its abolition. The appointment of VP Duterte could intensify and institutionalize the task force’s terror-labeling spree of cause-oriented organizations and democratic activists,” Pamalakaya spokesperson Ronnel Arambulo stressed.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, meanwhile, said Vice President Duterte’s appointment to the NTF-Elcac may lead to the smothering of people’s basic rights.
Duterte and the ACT previously traded barbs as the Vice President claimed that the partylist organization has ties with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.
“We fear that with Vice President Sara Duterte’s appointment as the co-vice chair of the NTF-Elcac, her Red-tagging activities will just get worse and will continue to undermine teachers’ freedom of association and human rights,” ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio said.
According to Basilio, Duterte should just focus on the Department of Education (DepEd) where she concurrently serves as Secretary since many problems in the education sector are still unsolved.
“Sa dami ng mga unresolved issues, challenges and problems na kinakaharap ng DepEd, ang mga ito mas higit na dapat unahin ng Kalihim,” said Basilio.
(With the number of unresolved issues, challenges and problems facing DepEd, these should be prioritized by the Secretary.)
Human rights group Karapatan also slammed the designation of Vice President Duterte as an NTF-Elcac vice chairperson, saying it “reinforces the fascist character of this task force.”
“It only shows the greater need for the abolition of this task force that has been responsible for numerous cases of human rights violations,” Karapatan said.