No ‘gag order’, just cease from comments on community pantries
Updated: May 4, 2021
By Filane Mikee Cervantes / Philippine News Agency
MANILA – There is no gag order against Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy and Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. as spokespersons of the government’s anti-insurgency task force.
Badoy, in a statement, said they were only ordered by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon to stop making comments on community pantry initiatives.
She said she and Parlade will continue their tasks at the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
“He (Esperon) has not silenced us. A gag order means that we have been asked to stop issuing public statements,” Badoy said.
“The clear guidance was to simply cease making comments about the community pantry now that we both got our message to the Filipino people across and done our duty," the statement issued Sunday read.
Badoy said that while they would heed Esperon's directive, they would still continue to "speak the truth" about the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), so that their "deceptions and their pretensions and lies may be known by our people".
"And we will continue to speak about the healing and redemptive truth of a government that serves the Filipino people faithfully and courageously. A government that will stop at nothing to defend and protect the people it has sworn to defend," she said.
The government, she said, will stop at nothing in ending the reign of terror of the CPP-NPA-NDF that has brought "so much pain and suffering on our people".
"The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict remains strong and committed in its resolve to finally bring to our people and our land the peace that has eluded us all these decades," she added.
Esperon, who chairs the NTF-ELCAC, said Badoy and Parlade will cease from speaking about community pantries so as to avoid sowing confusion regarding the pantry initiative.
“Lest it be misunderstood, they (Parlade and Badoy) will desist making statements on community pantries. And NTF-ELCAC will support, observe and assist (community pantries) as does the whole of government,” Esperon told reporters on Sunday.
The NTF-ELCAC, created by virtue of Executive Order 70 issued on Dec. 4, 2018, is tasked to “provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to aid in the realization of collective aspirations for inclusive and sustainable peace.” (PNA)