Terror tag exposes NDF 'wolf in sheep's clothing' nature: DILG
By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency
MANILA – The designation of the National Democratic Front (NDF) as a terrorist organization exposed its nature as a "wolf in sheep's clothing" as it pushes for peace talks while colluding with communist terrorists in pursuing an armed struggle, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Thursday.
In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said this will put an end to the false narrative of state enemies that the NDF is a separate entity from the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) that can represent and influence them to take the path to peace.
"Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the NDF has long been posturing as a legal, above-ground organization that had engaged with the government during peace talks while discreetly colluding with the CPP-NPA and other underground mass organizations to sabotage the peace talks from within, plotting to overthrow the Philippine government, and supporting the CPP-NPA’s failed “people’s democratic revolution,” he added.
Año said the ATC's designation of the NDF as a terrorist organization shed light on its true nature.
"The designation exposes the NDF for what it actually is – an integral part and minion of the CPP -- which has been working under its command and leadership to ultimately seize power from the government, through armed struggle and other means, in order to overthrow the government and establish a communist and repressive state in our country," he said.
In Resolution No. 21 dated June 23, the ATC found compelling and sufficient evidence to designate NDF as a terrorist organization for violating the provisions of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020, specifically: conspiracy to commit terrorism, recruitment to and membership in a terrorist organization, and providing material support to terrorists.
“Article IX of the 2016 CPP Constitution shows the command, lead and guidance of the CPP over the NPA, while Article X shows that the NDF (a.k.a. NDF of the Philippines) is the core and the most consolidated group that provides support to the armed and organizational expansion of the CPP-NPA,” the resolution read.
It also said the “direct and indispensable role of the NDF in armed operations“ has been repeatedly confirmed by CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, including the latest when he identified the CPP-NPA as allied organizations of the NDF in his message for the NDF’s 48th anniversary in April.
Sison and his wife, Juliet, the interim chairperson of the NDF negotiating panel, were also previously designated as terrorists.
Año, meanwhile, added that the Anti-Money Laundering Council's (AMLC) move to freeze the NDF's assets will greatly cut their means of obtaining support.
"They (NDF) will now be deprived of financial and logistical support and resources that they can use to finance terrorism, recruit and consolidate their ranks, and launch attacks against the government. Support and financial assistance from institutions and even foreign governments whom they have been duping for many years will also be severed as said groups may now be prosecuted under the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 for supporting a terrorist organization,” he said.
In Resolution No. TF-42 dated July 19 signed by executive director Mel George Racela, the AMLC said the freeze order covers property or funds that are owned or controlled by NDF, which is also known as the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP); property or funds that are wholly or jointly owned or controlled, directly or indirectly by the terrorist group; property or funds derived or generated from NDF funds; and property or funds of persons and entities acting in behalf of the NDF.
Año also called the designation is a significant victory for the national government, local government units (LGUs), civil society, private sector, and other stakeholders who compose the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) and work together in efforts to end communist insurgency in the country.
"As a key member of the NTF ELCAC, the DILG commits to continue to play an active role in this effort with the support of our attached agencies, LGUs, and the entire Filipino people," he added.
Ops vs. Reds-linked individuals legitimate
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar clarified that operations against individuals, including NDF consultants and personalities with links to the CPP-NPA are legitimate and have a basis.
He made the assurance dismissing the NDF’s warning that attacks against their members and government dissenters would continue following the group's designation as a terrorist organization by the ATC.
“I would like to point out that our operations are not against activists or critics of the administration, but against persons who have committed crimes and those responsible for atrocities as part of the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Eleazar said in a statement.
He added that the PNP's targets are personalities who have standing warrants before the courts and those suspected to have committed criminal acts based on validated information and collected evidence.
Eleazar dismissed allegations by the NDF that previous arrests of its consultants and other personalities linked to the CPP-NPA were based on fabricated charges.
“The previous arrests made against a number of NDF consultants were legitimate because of the charges filed against them in various courts. They were released from detention for the peace talks but once negotiations failed, the NDF consultants went into hiding and refused to face the charges filed against them,” he said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)