The intensified campaign against communist insurgency will be sustained by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) despite the resignation of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. as one of its spokespersons.
NTF-ELCAC vice chairman and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. made the assurance Thursday, July 1, after confirming that he received information on Parlade's resignation about a month ago.
"This doesn't mean that Gen. Parlade or NTF-ELCAC is easing up on the communist terrorists. We are even more forceful now as we have so many witnesses. There are so many support now. Nagbi-build up na 'yung support (The support is building up)," he said.
Esperon said Parlade will still be active in the government's fight against communist insurgency as the commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM). Parlade is set to retire on July 26.
"He can always continue to talk even when he is arleady retired and I think that is his intention. I think we will still be partners anyway," he said.
Esperon, however, has yet to confirm whether Parlade will be given a new government post after his retirement later this month.
Parlade said he already informed Pres. Duterte, the chairman of the NTF-ELCAC, about his resignation.
He did not confirm the reason behind his resignation but he implied it was due to the pressure made by some senators who questioned his appointment as NTF-ELCAC spokesperson, a violation of the Constitution which prohibits the appointment of a military personnel to a civilian post.
Malacanang confirmed Duterte has accepted Parlade's resignation.
Parlade became controversial due to his no-holds-barred anti-communist statements with another NTF-ELCAC spokesperson, Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy.
He is often accused of red-tagging organizations and individuals, and has repeatedly identified popular schools in Metro Manila and provinces as alleged recruitment hubs of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).