President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to cut diplomatic ties with foreign governments that provide funding to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and its front organizations.
This was revealed by Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations and spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), during Tuesday’s “Straight Talk with Daily Tribune.”
Parlade said the President, after hearing his (Parlade’s) briefing about the foreign funding being received by the CPP-NPA, was so furious that he instructed various government agencies to engage foreign governments and non-government organizations (NGO) in efforts to stop the flow of funds to the revolutionary movement.
Last April, Parlade, along with other members and officers of NTF-ELCAC, went to the European Union (EU) to present to different governments and private financiers information that some funding intended for NGO end up with the CPP-NPA which is waging an armed rebellion against the government.
Incensed over illicit funds
Parlade said the Commander in Chief was appalled that the CPP-NPA gets billions of pesos in fund from foreign donors, which provides the financing wittingly or unwittingly.
“The President was really angry after learning of these funds, he was so furious that he said ‘you go back to the States, you organize a team and engage these foreign governments,” Parlade told the Daily Tribune.
“(He was so angry) to the point that he said ‘if they are not going to cooperate with us about this funding, let’s terminate our diplomatic relations with these governments,’” he added.
Parlade said the President particularly instructed the AFP, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, the National Security Council and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to address the matter.
“The instruction was to send people abroad and make sure that our stakeholders will be informed of what’s happening,” Parlade said.
Currently, Parlade said the NTF-ELCAC is looking at engaging stakeholders in the United States and Australia.
Parlade, however, said that the initial mission to the EU and Belgium already yielded positive results as they have already “frozen” the funding intended for NGO in the Philippines which are being used by the CPP-NPA to collect the donations.
“These countries that we engaged already froze the funds,” Parlade said.
“But there are still some that we need to engage. We just have to engage these governments, these organizations and then we provide them with pertinent pieces of evidence. We submit official documents,” he added.
Many of these donors, Parlade said, are actually unaware how their donations are used.
Parlade said the bulk of the donations goes to the CPP-NPA and its front organizations and a measly portion is allocated to the target beneficiaries.
“The rule of the thumb is 60-40, 60 percent goes to the CPP-NPA. There are claims it’s the other way 40-60, 40 percent for the CPP. But, at the end of the day, it’s still huge and we are talking here of billions of pesos,” Parlade said.
Parlade said that the President’s political will to end insurgency problem is actually yielding very promising numbers, especially after the activation of NTF-ELCAC via Executive Order 70.
He said that from February to September this year, a total of 2,347 NPA rebels surrendered to the government.
To assist the surrenderers’ return to the mainstream society, Parlade said that the Duterte administration is providing an P834,000 worth of assistance package including livelihood, education, health and even housing.
“We help not only the surrenderers but also their families, especially their children with education assistance,” he explained.
“The direction is very clear ever since the President stopped all peace negotiations — that is to defeat the insurgency problem through whole of nation approach, and the AFP is just one of the players here, we have all government instrumentality behind the effort,” Parlade added.