By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
THE PHILIPPINE government has asked the European Union (EU) to stop funding “communist front organizations” in the Philippines.
In a press briefing at the Palace on Wednesday, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations Brigadier General Antonio Parlade, Jr. said the Philippine delegation to the EU asked the foreign organization last month to stop funding identified communist “terrorist” front organizations in the country.
He also said a legal group under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Insurgency is currently “consolidating” the government’s evidence against its identified “communist front organizations” allegedly being funded by the EU.
The formal complaint will be filed before the EU “maybe next month,” Mr. Parlade said.
“The earlier the better…. They (the EU) 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 of [funds],” he said.
‘A LOT OF FUNDS’
“Sa ating pagre-research, nakita natin na ang dami po nung funding na nakukuha nitong mga organizations na ito (In our research, we saw that these organizations have been receiving a lot of funds), specifically from the European Union. Ang nakita natin na (What we saw that was) very clear [was] the release of some 622,000 euros para doon sa (for the) Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and they are proudly displaying the logo of the European Union without [them] knowing na ito pala ay mga (that these are communist) front organizations,” Mr. Parlade said further.
He added that the government has also engaged with the Ambassador of EU in Manila “and we found out that the EU is also planning to release another 1.3 million euros [for the] succeeding projects…being undertaken by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines.”
The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, according to its website, is an “inter-congregational” organization of religious men and women, priests, and lay people.
Mr. Parlade said there are “seven” existing Belgian organizations in Manila. Under these Belgian organizations, he said, are “front organizations” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“I’m not at liberty to divulge to you right now itong mga…pangalan nitong mga organizations na ito (the names of these organizations). But ang very clear doon na nasa (on the) front page ng ano [of the CPP website] are these IBON and KARAPATAN,” he said.
IBON Foundation is a non-profit research organization while KARAPATAN describes itself as “an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense of people’s rights and civil liberties.”
Mr. Parlade said the government has already identified “around 30” front organizations in Mindanao being funded by the EU.
“Sa Mindanao pa lang iyon. Mayroon pang Visayas, mayroong Luzon…so I don’t know. Maybe aabot sa daan ang organization na pinopondohan nito (That is in Mindanao alone. There are also organizations in the Visayas and Luzon. So I don’t know. Maybe the number of EU-funded organizations will reach hundreds),” he said.
By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter