Redtagging and smear campaign against Leyte CSO, “a brazen attack on volunteerism and development work”—CPDG

September 23, 2021

Photo from Leyte Center for Development, Inc. (LCDe)

September 23, 2021

The Council for People’s Development and Governance calls out the government’s armed forces on its latest attempt at discrediting the Leyte Center for Development, Inc. (LCDe). LCDe is likely targeted for its adherence to citizenry-based disaster response anchored on organized and empowered communities.

For more than 30 years, LCDe has been delivering social services such as emergency response, disaster preparedness, and rehabilitation for poor and vulnerable communities in six provinces of Eastern Visayas that benefited at least 270,000 families or 1.4 million individuals in 373 barangays of 41 municipalities in the region. Its grassroots disaster preparedness committees have been very effective in responding to calamities. This was evident in the aftermath of the Yolanda super typhoon in 2013 . There were zero casualties in the communities where these committees are well-placed.

Thus, there is no wonder why LCDe garnered popular support through the years and received various awards such as the Salamat Po Award from the Department of Social Welfare and Development in 2004, the National Gawad Kalasag Award in 2007 from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council under the Department of National Defense, as well as the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency’s Most Outstanding Volunteer Organization and Individual Award in 2013 and 2018 respectively. Ms. Jazmin Jarusalem-Aguisanda is a member of the Region 8 Development Council of the NEDA and is Chairperson of the Citizens Disaster Response Network, a network of 17 disaster management and social development agencies from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

LCDe’s decades of service made it an institution of volunteerism and grassroots development work in many provinces of Samar and Leyte. Currently, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, it continues to respond to the people’s urgent needs. 

While civil society organizations (CSOs) like LCDe fill the gaps and limitations in the government’s pandemic response, they fall victims to its vicious counterinsurgency program.

These malicious attacks do not contribute to anything but only deprives the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized Filipinos from receiving much needed assistance.

LCDe is only one among the many CSOs subjected to varying forms of harassment and red tagging. This should immediately stop as it endangers the lives of development workers, volunteers, and the staff of these CSOs. The government’s armed force should devote its energies and resources in fostering unity rather than divide especially during this critical time. #