PH to file complaint before EU, Belgium on funding CPP fronts

PH to file complaint before EU, Belgium on funding CPP fronts

MANILA — The Philippine government is set to file a formal complaint before Belgium and the European Union (EU), which will also request them to stop funding alleged fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) once it has gathered more proof.

This comes after a Philippine delegation, in a series of engagements with officials of Belgium and EU in Brussels last month, presented to them findings that their governments have been funding front organizations masquerading as non-government organizations and human rights defenders.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, said the Belgian and EU were surprised to know that their funds were being allocated for CPP-NPA activities.

“They were so surprised to know that these organizations are actually part of the — this terrorist organization. So of course, we have to show proof,” Parlade said in a Palace briefing.

However, Parlade pointed out that both governments have committed to stop funding these fronts once more evidence will be provided.

“They wanted us to provide more evidences, and then to file the formal complaint because during the time when we went to Europe, we didn’t have the formal (complaint) — (it was) exploratory,” Parlade said.

“So that’s what we are doing now, we are consolidating all our evidences para i-submit sa (to submit to the) European Union — and as soon as they have that, they promised to stop this funding,” he added.

Parlade said the AFP legal cooperation group under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Insurgency is working on collecting evidence and drafting a formal complaint, which may be ready by next month.

“Maybe if we can complete the packaging of this, we can transmit it as early as tomorrow or maybe next month. The earlier the better, because they wanted us to move fast also because the next tranche of funds could be released anytime soon — so they wanted to make sure that they have these documents before they release the succeeding tranche,” Parlade said.

Funding for CPP fronts

Parlade claimed that Belgium has been providing 3 million euros for five years to the seven Belgian organizations existing in Manila, which are supposedly front organizations of the CPP.

“When we engaged the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we found out that they are actually supporting the seven NGOs in the Philippines with 3 million euros a year, for a period of 5 years — so that’s 15 million euros,” Parlade said.

However, he clarified that that he was not claiming that all these NGOs are being exploited by the CPP but currently being reviewed.

Parlade named Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Kaparatan and the IBON Foundation as among the supposed CPP-NPA fronts.

He said the RMP alone received PHP32 million in first tranche of funds in December last year and will receive another PHP2 million in the next tranche.

Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat executive director, Undersecretary Severo Catura, for his part, welcomed Belgian and EU officials’ openness regarding the matter.

“I think the main message that we really wanted to hear from the EU was their openness. It was really the first time that they heard about this important information, that they were funding front organizations,” Catura said.

“So, ang sabi nila (they said), since this is it, we encouraged you to really work on the evidences that you are preparing so that for us to really be very cautious,” he added.

Meanwhile, Parlade stressed that it is only the Duterte administration, which has taken a serious approach in efforts to end the communist insurgency. Azer Parrocha/PNA-northboundasia.com