By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Thursday expressed confidence that it will be able to convince donor nations and foreign organizations to scrap the cash flow to initially named Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) front organizations.
AFP Spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo made the remark in a statement release to media.
Arevalo said with the revelation by government identifying CPP-NPA front organizations that receive funds in millions of Euros (initially from Belgium and European Union alone), they are aware that that information they provided will be treated as mere allegations.
He added that the named groups will certainly deny the same.
“This is because their benevolent donations did not just line the pockets of unscrupulous leaders of a terrorist organization masquerading to be defenders of the people, their generosity is actually used to terrorize and further deprive the very poor people the said patron nations seek to help,” Arevalo said.
“But we are aware of the maxim “he who alleges must prove.” We on the Armed Forces of the Philippines are prepared to meet the challenge– of backing our assertions with proof,” he added.
Arevalo said pieces of evidence from field units keep coming in bulks already. He said it’s a matter of time before they are able to put them together in a manner that would stand even legal scrutiny.
The Philippine government has asked Belgium and other countries of the European Union (EU) to stop providing funds to certain organizations in the Philippines which have ended in the coffers of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).
A Philippine delegation has met with officials of the EU and the European Parliament and the European Commission with a request to “stop the flow of funds to identified Communist terrorist front organizations.”
The Belgian government, according to Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., Armed Forces deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations, has just released the first tranche of 621,000 euro (about P36.6 million) of a total 15-million-euro grant to certain non-government organizations (NGOs) undertaking aid programs for the poor and the marginalized.
The Philippine delegation, however, said that some of these NGOs are actually Communist front organizations.
Parlade earlier named Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Karapatan and the IBON Foundation as among the supposed CPP-NPA fronts.
The front organizations, according to Alex Paul Monteagudo, director-general of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, are able to divert some 60 percent of the donated funds to the Communist Party which then uses the funds to support its activities such as rallies and the purchase of weapons.
Gilles de Kerchove, a coordinator of EU Counter-Terrorism, vowed to look into the information. Gunnar Weigand, managing director of the European External Action Service, promised to conduct an independent financial audit this month.