NTF-Elcac names more spokespersons

By Keith Calayag / The Manila Times

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. PHOTO BY DJ DIOSINA

INSTEAD of scaling down, the government’s anti-communist task force boosted its personnel by hiring more spokespersons.


National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., vice chairman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), introduced on Monday the eight spokespersons.


Originally, the panel had two spokespersons — Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. and Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy.


Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya will handle local government affairs, the Barangay Development Program and international engagement. Undersecretary Severo Catura, executive director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat, will be the spokesman for international affairs, peace process and human rights concerns.


Undersecretary Joel Egco, a former journalist and head of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, will be in charge of mass media engagements and will serve as the task force’s “fact-checker,” while Celine Pialago will be assigned the task force’s public affairs and information, and youth concerns.


Marlon Bosantog, Caraga regional director for the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (IP), will be the spokesman for legal affairs and IP concerns, while Gaye Florendo will be the assistant spokesman for public affairs and IP concerns.


“The designation of officials under the expanded pool of spokespersons allows our focus, discourse and engagement with the public from each spokesperson’s respective thematic coverage,” Esperon said in a virtual press briefing.


“Remember that the NTF-Elcac is composed of all agencies of the government, practically all agencies, so we are just throwing the support and pool talents from all the government agencies,” he added.


‘Master red-tagger’


Meanwhile, Esperon tagged Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) leader Jose Maria “Joma” as the “master red-tagger” in the country.


He made the statement during a recent virtual press conference as he addressed criticisms against the task force on the supposed red-tagging of groups and individuals.


“It is Sison himself who has been red-tagging. We have a saying that, ‘Ang isda ay nahuhuli sa bibig (A fish gets caught in the mouth’) and we [are] just truth-tagging them,” Esperon said.


He presented videos where Sison identified all 18 “underground organizations” linked to the CPP-NPA-NDF.


“Joma’s statement during the 48th anniversary of their communist’s movement last April 24 enumerated their underground mass organizations and their link to the league of people’s organizations,” Esperon said. “Sison affirmed that their revolution is an armed struggle posed for general uprising led by the NPA.”


He said these groups have long been conspiring to topple the government.

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