MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted the resignation of Army Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. as spokesperson of the government’s anti-insurgency task force, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Parlade submitted his resignation as spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) “a month ago” to ease pressure on the task force’s leaders who are being questioned by lawmakers.
“Tinanggap po ang resignation ni Gen. Parlade as spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC (Gen. Parlade’s resignation as spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC has been accepted). So that’s what I was able to confirm from [Defense] Secretary [Delfin] Lorenzana,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Iloilo City.
Parlade, who is also Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief, is set to retire on July 26 when he reaches the mandatory age of 56.
In a statement, Parlade said he is happy with the development that the NTF-ELCAC now has civilian NTF spokespersons who shall carry on the fight passionately and with conviction.
However, despite his resignation as NTF ELCAC spokesperson and pending retirement from the military service on July 26, Parlade said he will continue to defend the country against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) and its allied organizations.
Several lawmakers earlier called for the defunding the NTF-ELCAC’s PHP19 billion budget and reallocate its funds to Covid-19 response after the alleged profiling and red-tagging of organizers of community pantries by police personnel.
Last May, NTF-ELCAC vice-chair and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon announced that six more officials to join PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy and Parlade as co-spokespersons of the task force.
The six new spokespersons are:
*Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya - Local Government Affairs, Barangay Development Program, International Engagement;
*Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat (PHRCS) Undersecretary Severo Catura - International Affairs, Peace Process, Human Rights Concerns;
*Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Jose Joel Sy Egco - Mass Media Engagements, Fact-Checker;
*Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago - NTF-ELCAC Public Affairs and Information, Youth Concerns;
*National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Caraga regional director lawyer Marlon Bosantog - Legal Affairs, Indigenous Peoples Concerns; and
*NCIP’s Gaye Florendo - Assistant Spokesperson on NTF-ELCAC Public Affairs and on Indigenous Peoples Concerns. (PNA)