MANILA — Partido Lakas ng Masa presidential hopeful Leody De Guzman on Sunday explained his stand on why the controversial anti-communist task force should be abolished.
This after some sectors raised concern over Vice President Leni Robredo's position on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which she recently said she supported after having previously criticized it.
“The armed conflict in the country will not end but will be exacerbated by a militarist solution. The steps towards true and complete peace are comprehensive programs that eradicate poverty and exploitation, respect human rights and enforce social justice,” De Guzman said in a statement.
“On the first day of our tenure, we expect the immediate abolition of the bastard NTF-ELCAC,” he added.
De Guzman claimed that the said agency is just enforcing policies with a militaristic approach that is no different from martial law.
“At pinatunayan ng implementasyon nito na ang pangunahing paraan ay ang pagpapailalim ng sibilyang awtoridad sa militaristang pasya katulad at walang pinagiba sa martial law,” he added.
(And its implementation proved that the main way was to subject the civilian authority to a militarist decision similar to and undiminished by martial law.)
The NTF-ELCAC was established as President Rodrigo Duterte signed the controversial Anti-Terror Law, much to the objection of rights groups locally and overseas, citing possible abuses against government critics.
De Guzman added that the agency has “widespread” human rights violations ranging from red-tagging, harassment, intimidation, arrest among others.
“Ang NTF-ELCAC din ay isang tahasang paglabag sa 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. Binabalewala nito ang nauna nang balangkas patungo sa usaping pangkapayapaan,” he added.
(NTF-ELCAC is also a clear violation of the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. It ignores the previous framework towards the peace issue.)
The presidential hopeful said the budget for NTF-ELCAC should be reallocated to programs that would help solve poverty.
“Ang pondong inilaan ng administrasyon para sa pagpapatakbo ng bastardong NTF-ELCAC ay mas nararapat gamitin at ilaan para sa mga programang magsisiguro ng panlipunang hustisya at pagkakapantay-pantay katulad ng pagbibigay ng trabaho at suporta sa ating mga manggagawa, pagpapamahagi ng lupa’t suporta sa ating magsasaka at maralita, pambili ng mga moderno at maka-kalikasang pampublikong sasakyan sa ating mga tsuper at mananakay, pagsasaayos ng libre at dekalidad na edukasyon sa ating kabataan at napakarami pang iba,” he said.
(Funds allocated by the administration for the operation of the bastard NTF-ELCAC should be better used and allocated for programs that will ensure social justice and equality such as providing employment and support to our workers, land distribution and support to our farmers and the poor, buying modern and environmentally friendly public transport for our drivers and riders, arranging free and quality education for our youth and so much more.)
“Ang bilyon-bilyong piso nakalagak sa ahensya ay nagsisilbi lamang na regalo para sa mga ilang mataas na opisyal ng militar at balon ng pandarambong at pagsasamantala. Kahit ang kalayaang binigay sa task force para pakialaman ang pondo ng iba’t-ibang ahensyang pambansa at lokal ay ginagamit para sa pampulitikang interes ng iilan at mauuwi lamang sa korapsyon,” he added.
(The billions of pesos deposited in the agency only serve as gifts for a few high-ranking military officials and wells of plunder and exploitation. Even the freedom given to the task force to tamper with the funds of various national and local agencies is used for the political interests of the few and only leads to corruption.)
The government's anti-communist task force will suffer a P24 billion budget cut next year following its failure to fully report how it spent P16 billion supposedly to help local villages this year, Senate finance committee chair Sen. Sonny Angara earlier said.
De Guzman joined the 2022 presidential race, along with more than 90 others.
The other presidential aspirants include Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Sen. Bong Go, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, and former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos.
The Commission on Elections will trim the list in the coming weeks to remove those found to be nuisance candidates.
The official campaign period for May 9, 2022, elections will begin only on Feb. 8, 2022.