Military warns NGOs ‘aiding’ CPP-NPA

By John Rey Saavedra

September 29, 2023, 9:30 pm

<p>Visayas Command chief Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo. <em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

Visayas Command chief Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo. (PNA file photo)

CEBU CITY – The Visayas Command (Viscom) on Friday said non-government organizations (NGOs) aiding the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) should stop activities of raising revenues to help fund the operation of the underground movement as it will get them in trouble.

“Aiding, conspiring, and providing financial support to the terrorist group is a crime punishable under our law. For those who are doing this, we urge you to stop,” Visayas Command chief, Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, said in a statement.

The military and the police, he said, are determined to end the local communist armed conflict in the Visayas and “will not hesitate to enforce the full extent of the law to bring justice for our people who have been the victims of these nefarious acts.”

Arevalo’s statement came as the Department of Justice (DOJ) conducted Thursday a preliminary hearing against 25 members of the Community Empowerment Resource Network (CERNET) who are facing charges of violation of the Republic Act 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.

The case against CERNET was filed by Brig. Gen. Joey Escanillas, chief of 302nd Infantry Brigade, before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Cebu.

“They cannot hide under the guise of cause-oriented and advocacy support groups forever. The law will not turn a blind eye on their deception, corruption, and terrorist acts. Justice will be served for all the menace they’ve caused to the Filipino people,” Arevalo said.

The NGO is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission here but operating in the entire Visayas.

According to Escanillas, the organization has been utilized allegedly by the CPP-NPA as a front for its fund generation scheme since 2001.

Meanwhile, at a rally in front of the entrance road leading to the DOJ-Cebu on Thursday, a representative of CERNET, who refused to be named, said they will work for the dismissal of the case, saying their act of helping the poor and marginalized should never be branded as terrorism.

The funding agencies that helped the NGO have been validating their proposals, he said. (PNA)