MANILA – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) "creates clarity with the truth" even as legal communist fronts continue to create "confusion with their lies", NTF ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Marie Badoy said.
Badoy, reiterating that the term "red-tagging" does not exist, said on Friday members and allies of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) are using it as a "tool to silence" anti-insurgency advocates to speak up about their deceitful operations.
"Where they are loud and bold about their toxic lies, we are louder and bolder about the truth," she said. "It is precisely because of this deceit and the ignorance of our countrymen that they have committed the most heinous of crimes against our people and our beloved Philippines."
Badoy is reacting to a statement by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra who recently urged certain individuals associated with the NTF-ELCAC to refrain from “red-tagging" without "solid proof of evidence."
"The NTF ELCAC agrees with Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra when he says that we should not identify people as members of the CPP NPA NDF if we do not have solid proof that they are," Badoy said.
"This, in fact has been our guiding light at the NTF ELCAC: to gird our countrymen with accurate and clear information about the numerous fronts of this terrorist organization and the various modus operandi they employ to hurt and destroy our country for the past 53 years," she added.
Badoy said the party-lists Kabataan, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Gabriela (for youth and women), as well as progressive organizations like League of Filipinos Students (LFS), Anakbayan, College Editor's Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Katribu, Narra Youth, National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), National Union of People's Lawyer (NUPL) and Ibon Foundation, were directly identified by the former NPA rebels as front organizations of the communist groups.
She said these groups are the top recruiters of children into violent extremism, labeling them as "protectors and purveyors of terrorism".
Deceitful recruitment has led to an "unbearable number of our children have turned their backs on their bright future to become violent extremists of this terrorist organization and have died fighting the government," she said.
"Countless numbers of our youth now lie buried in shallow, unmarked graves all across the archipelago," she added.
The NTF-ELCAC, she said, is doing its best to stop the massive recruitment of youth and vulnerable groups to the communist armed movement.
“We, however, do not agree with Secretary Guevarra when he says that the NTF ELCAC endangers our people when we do our sacred duty of identifying members of the CPP-NPA-NDF. What has grievously endangered our people is all those decades government reneged on its sacred duty, looked the other way and refused to identify members of the CPP NPA NDF–even if they already knew who these terrorists were,” Badoy said, calling it "unfortunate" that Guevarra seemed "ignorant" of the Supreme Court ruling in the Zarate vs. Aquino case that there is no danger to life, liberty and security when one is identified as a member of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Fight vs. communist terrorists continues
Badoy chided the allied organizations of the communist terrorist groups for trying to overthrow the government.
“The NTF ELCAC has swam against a tide of criticisms and the herculean efforts of this terrorist organization–the CPP NPA NDF– to stop us from defending and protecting our people,” she said.
She assured the public that "there is nothing that can stop" the anti-insurgency advocates and the NTF-ELCAC to continue what should have been ended a long time ago.
Only under the term of President Rodrigo Duterte that the fight against communist terrorism has taken effect, she said, because of his “courage and the political will of steel" to create NTF-ELCAC.
“We will continue to swim against this tide until we meet our goal: the complete destruction of this noxious, virulent terrorist organization THE CPP NPA NDF,” Badoy added. “There is nothing on heaven or earth that can stop us–more so now that the Filipino people are fighting alongside us.”
Joma Sison, master red tagger
For his part, acting spokesperson for Legal Affairs Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales said the NTF ELCAC has never red-tagged anybody as it is not, and will not be the job of the agency.
In a separate statement, Gonzales assured Guevarra that the task force “has discharged its mandate of unmasking the enemies of the state, and of our people”.
The NTF-ELCAC, he said, could not be accused of doing something that is non-existent under the law, saying that red-tagging is a misnomer.
“The TRUTH has been the best and the most resilient weapon of the NTF-ELCAC,” Gonzales said. “On the other hand, Joma Sison has done a very competent job of tagging his own front organizations that the CPP-NPA-NDF has created to destroy the duly constituted government of the Republic of the Philippines. In the words of a respected journalist and one of the talking heads of the NTF-ELCAC, ‘Joma Sison is the master red-tagger’”.
He agreed with Badoy that “red tagging” is a term that has been conveniently used by the CPP-NPA-NDF and by their allied front groups as a defense mechanism whenever they are exposed, unmasked, and uncovered.
Gonzales reminded Guevarra of a video clip of Sison wherein he identified the very same organizations that compose the united front of the CPP-NPA-NDF as part of their so-called "revolutionary armed struggle".
In the said video, Gonzales said it was Sison himself who tagged the CPP-NPA-NDF affiliated groups.
Following Guevarra’s advice, Gonzales said the NTF-ELCAC has been filing cases against the CPP-NPA-NDF members, leaders, and allied front groups for the past years.
He said Guevarra, as head of the Justice Department, is very much a part of the painful and tedious process undertaken by the Duterte administration, of unmasking the enemies of the state and of the Filipino people.
“The SOJ, in his heart of hearts, knows that the NTF-ELCAC has definitely unmasked, exposed, revealed, and uncovered, the atrocities and the multitude of crimes and abuses committed by the CPP-NPA-NDF against the Filipino people, mostly against children, the indigenous peoples and their communities, the poorest of the poor, and the Filipino families who have lost their children to the godless, wretched, and soulless fake revolution being waged by the CPP-NPA-NDF against the Filipino nation,” Gonzalez said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)