Farmer group claims being used by NGO to rake foreign donations to support NPAs

Published September 22, 2021, 10:27 AM

by Marie Tonette Marticio

TACLOBAN CITY – A group of farmers from Carigara, Leyte accused a non-government organization of using them as fronts to raise multi-million funds to support the Communist-Terrorist Group (CTGs).

The group staged a rally in front of the Leyte Center for Development Inc. (LCDE) in Palo, Leyte, Tuesday (September 21).

Alicia Cañares, the spokesperson of the Municipal Upland Farmers Association of Carigara (MUFAC), who admitted to being a former member of the New People’s Army (NPAs), claimed that she was a victim of deceit by the LCDE because they were organized as an association of farmers but they only received a small portion of funds that were given to the NPAs instead.

“We were given damaged farm equipment. Later we found out that LCDE used the signatures of our farmers to raise funds from different countries that they used to support the NPAs,” she narrated.

Cañares said MUFAC, which was organized in 2010 raked P27 million from foreign donors. However, the funds were not solely used for them.

“We signed for P7 million for the first tranche but we only received P3 million worth of project during the second tranche. We were even visited by Satur Ocampo during the turnover of the project,” she revealed.

Cañares further narrated that armed NPA members would usually attend their meetings or would go to their village to tell them to attend general assemblies organized by the LCDE.

She said that she knew the NPAs because they used to eat in their house. They would also tell them to gather the people for a meeting there.

In 2015, they learned of the alleged anomaly of the organization.

However, Cañares said they chose to keep mum for fear the NPAs would kill them.

Meanwhile, LCDE director Jazmin Jerusalem belied the accusations hurled against the organization linking them to the communist group.

She said that they have been serving the poor communities in Leyte for over 33 years now.

“We are aware of the allegations linking us to the CPP-NPA. We saw them on Facebook and webinars of the 802nd Infantry Brigade but it’s not true. We are the ones who help the poor and the vulnerable people especially during Supertyphoon ‘Yolanda’,” she said.

She added that the allegations are brazen and baseless lies, offensive, threatening, and malicious.

“I am not interested in filing a case or taking any legal action against the military. It’s just a waste of time. For us, we are honest and transparent. We will not give that dignity unless it’s below the belt,” she said.