MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo said she supports the country's controversial anti-communist task force, which she believes is in a bad light because of past actions and statements of its members.
During a security briefing with newly-appointed Armed Forces chief of staff Lt. Gen, Andres Centino and other senior military officers at Camp Aguinaldo, Robredo assured them that she supports the mandate and functions of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Robredo, who was earlier accused of being a communist by NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Marie Badoy, said she is not for the abolition of the task force despite her grievances with it.
“I want to address the elephant in the room kasi I've been quoted so many times already that I'm for the abolition of NTF-ELCAC. And I want to emphasize today that I am all for the mandate and the functions of ELCAC," she said.
"In fact, yung Barangay Development Fund, I think that's the best part of everything. Paniniwala ko, talagang it is only through concepts like this that the problems of insurgency can be addressed upfront,” she added.
She said the entire task force has been cast in a bad light because of the “careless statements of some of the members.”
“Ako mismo, I've been on the receiving end of unfair accusations. I've been red-tagged and the red-tagging has been baseless. Kaisa nyo ako sa pagsubok na masugpo ito (insurgency) by addressing the core of these problems, and the peripheral issues surrounding it,” Robredo told the military leadership.
In August, Robredo called on government to use the anti-insurgency task force's funds to give aid to those who will be affected by the lockdown during that time.
Earlier this month, senators slashed the NTF-ELCAC's budget for 2022 following its failure to fully report how it spent P16 billion-Barangay Development Fund, which is supposedly aimed to help local villages this year.
Senators and House leaders threatened to defund the task force last April after then spokesperson Lt. General Antonio Parlade Jr. linked community charity pantries to the communist movement, and even compared one organizer to Satan.