Relentless violations prove that NTF-ELCAC should be abolished—CPDG

November 10, 2021

Photo from Bulatlat/Illustration by Dee Ayroso

November 10, 2021

Last Saturday afternoon, November 6, peasant organizer Steve Abua was abducted by unknown perpetrators in Lubao, Pampanga. Abua’s whereabouts are still unknown as his family and colleagues continue their search. Prior to this incident, residents of Brgy. San Isidro, in Montalban, Rizal province were being harassed and forced to surrender as rebels by elements of the Philippine Army since October 30, 2021. Eventually, military troops encamped in the area to look for peasant leaders Moises Bragais and Melchor Luyao.

The Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) says that the reign of terror of state security forces against civilians and development workers and the communities they work with must stop.

CPDG spokesperson Liza Maza underscored that these rights violations by government forces are nothing new and it is worrisome that the culture of impunity is being normalized. “Militarization has terrorized indigenous and farmer communities over the years and it only resulted in wholesale human rights abuses,” she continued.

Grassroots organizations, advocacy groups, and the civil society have registered their indignation over these injustices and warned that this draconian climate will be institutionalized if the Anti-Terror Law of 2020 is not blocked by the Supreme Court. Maza stressed that the Anti-Terror Law (ATL) should be repealed. “The ATL will complete the evolution of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) into a war machine against democracy,” she added.

CPDG also welcomes presidential aspirant and incumbent vice president Leni Robredo’s declaration on the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC which has been the organization’s demand since the advent of the counterproductive task force. The anti-communist task force has been under fire for its indiscriminate redtagging spree against those expressing criticism, even celebrities and non-profit organizations, and thus earned the ire among legislators. Senators, second to people’s organizations, were pushing to slash its multi-billion fund and rechannel this to social services that can immediately provide relief to billions of Filipinos as the pandemic-induced economic hardships perpetuate.

“It is commendable that an opposition candidate and some legislators make a clear and sound argument against the NTF-ELCAC. But likewise, we the people should exhaust all means in stopping its madness as soon as possible—may it be through ballots or marching the streets” Maza said. #