Leyte NGO accused of using farmers’ group to raise funds for Reds
By Joey Gabieta / Philippine Daily Inquirer
PALO, Leyte—A group of farmers from Carigara town in Leyte province has accused a non-governmental organization of using them to raise funds for the communist rebel group in Eastern Visayas.
More than 30 farmers, some of them claimed to be former rebels, held a protest rally in front of the Leyte Center for Development Inc. (LCDE) office based in this town, on Tuesday, Sept. 21.
Andelecia Canares, the spokesperson of the Municipal Upland Farmers Association of Carigara (Mufac), said they staged their protest rally against the LCDE which was used as a front of the communist group in the region.
“They are using our farmers’ group so they can raise funds,” said in an interview.
Canares said it is only now that they have found the courage to speak against the LCDE.
She said she and some of their members have a basis in linking LCDE to the rebel communist group because they knew some of them.
“We personally knew these rebels who ordered us to attend meetings or rallies with the presence of LCDE. Some of them asked for food and some even held their meeting inside our house,” she said.
Canares admitted that she was a former rebel member who surrendered to the government in 2015.
Jazmin Jerusalem, LCDE executive director, said she was shocked that the organization has been linked to the communist group.
“That is without basis and is very malicious. LCDE is not connected in any way to the communist group,” she said.
According to Jerusalem, their group is assisting poor and helpless people who live in remote barangays.
Jerusalem also said that their group, organized in 1988, has received many recognitions from various government offices and international groups due to its humanitarian activities.
She said some of those who staged the rally were beneficiaries of their programs.
Jerusalem said claims linking them to the New People’s Army is another form of “Red-tagging” by the government.