THE National Task Force to End Local Communists Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Wednesday regarded the complaints filed against several of its officials before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) by the so-called “KABAG” party-list members as nothing more than “propaganda” of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
At the special press briefing held in Camp Aguinaldo, National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr., NTF-ELCAC Vice-Chair, said the Task Force will “debunk” these “fabricated charges” against them and expose the KABAG bloc’s “deception and hypocrisy regularly practiced by these party-list groups.”
Esperon pointed out that the Task Force, with its 12 corresponding cluster heads, “has been legitimately upholding its mandate of protecting the Republic against the threats posed by the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTG).”
“I take this opportunity to state unequivocally that the NTF-ELCAC does not engage in the business of red-tagging, we are simply informing the public of the truth,” Esperon said, explaining that the issue of red-tagging is merely a futile attempt of KABAG at disinformation and deception against the NTF-ELCAC.
Esperon added the election period does not suspend government functions in safeguarding the national interests and the COMELEC should dismiss outright the case filed against officials of NTF-ELCAC by members of the KABAG Bloc, composed of Kabataan, Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Act-Teachers and Gabriela party-list organizations.
The task force’s Cluster Heads were in full force as they signed their joint counter-affidavit to the case filed against them by KABAG, and attested to before the Judge Advocate General (JAG),
National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director-General Alex Paul Monteagudo, NTF-ELCAC Cluster Head for Situational Awareness and Knowledge Management (SAKM), described the KABAG’s complaint as “a mere harassment.”
“Harassment ito ng KABAG. Gusto nila natakot kami at huminto ng pagsasabi ng katotohanan. Ang kanilang niloloko noon ay di na nila maloko ngayon. Ang kaso ay para maipakita rin na malakas pa sila,” Monteagudo said.
He added that it was their former comrades who exposed KABAG lawmakers as members of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
“Bakit wala silang (KABAG) ikinaso? It was Alma Gabin dating Kabataan nominee ang nakausap ko na nagsabi si Sara Elago ay CPP-NPA-NDF member. Ang CPP-NPA-NDF at KABAG ay iisa. Ang adhikain ay pabagsakin ang gobyerno at palitan ng komunismo,” he explained.
Assistant Solicitor General Angelita Miranda, of the Office of Solicitor General (OSG) Cluster Head, Legal Cooperation Cluster (LCC) of the NTF-ELCAC, on the other hand, said the CPP-NPA-NDF “has long been the enemy, not only of the government but of all the Filipino people.”
Miranda said even with these cases filed against them, they will not retreat in telling the Filipino the truth about KABAG and the CPP-NPA-NDF.
For his part, Undersecretary Cesar Yano of the Department of National Defense (DND) Cluster Head, Peace, Law Enforcement and Development Support (PLEDS), emphasized that the governors he have met told him that the NTF-Elcac was “the best thing that happened to our country.”
Yano explained that for the first time in Philippine history, all government agencies came together to stop the insurgency.
Other task force heads present were Undersecretary Marlo Iringan of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cluster Head, who heads three Clusters (Local Government Empowerment (LGE) Cluster; Sectoral Unification, Capacity Building and Empowerment (SUCBEM) Cluster; Basic Services (BS) Cluster and the Localized Peace Engagement (LPE) Cluster);
Deputy Director General Gabriel Luis Quisimbing of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) head of Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC);
Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu of the DND Cluster Head, Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and Amnesty Program Cluster; and
Undersecretary Maximo Carvajal of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Co-Cluster Head, Infrastructure and Resource Management (IRM).
They were one in saying the task force is just doing its job in telling the truth and in exposing the deceptive ways of CPP-NPA-NDF and KABAG.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office NTF-ELCAC Spokesperson on New Media and the task force’s Sectoral Concerns and Cluster Head, Strategic Communications (StratCom) quoted what President Rodrigo Duterte is telling his countrymen, to be cautious about KABAG.
“Ang mahuhusga sa bandang huli ay ang ating mga kababayan,” Badoy said, referring to the electorate of not voting anymore KABAG Partylists members, a win in the five-decades old war against CPP-NPA-NDF.