CPDG Strongly Denounces the Unjust Accusations and Freezing of Accounts of Leyte Center for Development, Inc. (LCDe)

May 7, 2024

The Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) vehemently condemns the unjust and arbitrary actions taken by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) against Leyte Center for Development, Inc. (LCDe), a valued member of the CPDG network.

On May 2, 2024, the AMLC, through Resolution No. TF-89, directed the freezing of personal and organizational accounts connected to LCDe, citing baseless accusations of terrorism financing. This politically motivated repression threatens not only LCDe’s humanitarian work but also the broader principles of justice and human rights in the Philippines.

LCDe has played a crucial role in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programs and emergency response in Eastern Visayas for 36 years and has served over 1.1 million people. LCDe has partnerships with at least 23 municipal government units in Samar and Leyte provinces and collaborates with international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) from at least seven countries. LCDe’s extensive impact and commitment to humanitarian work has been widely recognized through various awards, such as the Salamat Po Award (2003) and the National Gawad Kalasag Award (2006) from the Philippine government, and the Most Outstanding NGO in Voluntary Work (2015) from the Philippine National Volunteers Association.

The AMLC’s decision to freeze LCDe’s accounts, including the personal accounts of its Executive Director, Ms. Jazmin A. Jerusalem — who is also a member of CPDG’s Board of Trustees — is based on unfounded allegations of terrorism financing under Republic Act No. 10168. These unfounded accusations, lacking substantial evidence hinders LCDe’s mission and also unjustly labels dedicated humanitarian workers as terrorists.

The consequences of disrupting LCDe’s ability to deliver emergency aid, food security/livelihood programs, shelter assistance, and other essential services to vulnerable communities affects the distressed communities they service most of all. The unjust accusations also slander the reputation of Ms. Jerusalem who has been recognized internationally for her leadership in disaster risk reduction. She has been awarded the International Climate Heroine Award (2017) given to the most Outstanding Woman Leader in Disaster Risk Reduction by the INGO CARE Germany and the UN WIN DRR United Nations Women in DRR Leadership Award (2021). 

CPDG demands that the Philippine government immediately unfreeze the accounts of LCDe and Ms. Jerusalem. The baseless accusation of LCDe and Ms. Jerusalem as terrorists is a brazen attack on humanitarian work and violates fundamental human rights. We call on the government to cease all forms of harassment and intimidation against humanitarian workers and allow LCDe to continue its vital mission without further interference.

CPDG stands in solidarity with LCDe, a trusted member of our network, and denounces the baseless repression of humanitarian and development work. The government must retract its unfounded accusations and allow LCDe to continue supporting the most vulnerable communities in Eastern Visayas. We urge all stakeholders to join us in demanding justice and the unfreezing of LCDe’s accounts.

#Hands-Off Humanitarian Workers!

#Stop the Attacks on Development Workers!

#Unfreeze the LCDe Accounts!

Statement | Council for People’s Development and Governance

7 May 2024

Reference: Liza Maza, CPDG Spokesperson 09995501214