NTF-ELCAC wants Makabayan bloc out of Congress
By Romina Cabrera / The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines — With the national and local elections less than a year away, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) said it would be using all its resources to “take out” the Makabayan bloc from Congress.
NTF-ELCAC spokesman Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy said they want the six duly elected lawmakers forming the so-called Makabayan bloc removed from their posts in the House of Representatives.
Badoy particularly named Rep. Carlo Zabarte and five other lawmakers belonging to militant party-list groups that she claimed were not part of the legitimate opposition but are fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“Most definitely, we are using all legal teams, the resources of the government. It is the official stand of the NTF-ELCAC that the Makabayan are made of high-ranking members of the CPP-NPA-NDF that are out to destroy the government,” she said in an interview with The STAR.
“I want them out of Congress. They are obnoxious. They have to be taken out. Because they abused their powers and the resources of government to destroy the government and enable the most heinous crimes or the indigenous crimes,” she added.
Badoy noted that the NTF-ELCAC has already filed several cases before the Commission of Elections against the Makabayan bloc seeking its disqualification in next year’s polls.
She clarified her group is only targeting the Makabayan bloc and not the opposition in general. The block covers partylist representatives of militant groups like Bayan Muna and Gabriela, among others.
Badoy claimed the NTF-ELCAC and the administration have a track record of supporting a vibrant democracy in the country.
“Are we gonna run after individuals? No. The NTF-ELCAC is about ending the local communist armed conflict, not about ending civil liberties. It is a protection of civil liberties,” she added.
Meanwhile, Armed Forces chief General Cirilito Sobejana said the academe should do its part in “killing terrorism” in institutions just as much as the military is “killing terrorists.”
Sobejana said that teachers, as well as parents, have roles in ending terrorism within the family and the academe.
“While your soldiers kill terrorists, you in the academe should kill terrorism. If you’re effective in quelling terrorism, then there will be no terrorists. Your Armed Forces is a partner in helping the country develop and not in going to war,” he said in a statement in Filipino.
Sobejana said stopping terrorism mainly involves tackling its economic and socio-cultural roots, and that dealing with the problem through armed means represents only 20 percent of the task.
“Problems that have effects on national security are surmountable – that is if we move together toward our objective that is peace and progress,” he said.
He expressed confidence the insurgency would be solved by 2022 with the active participation and cooperation of the public.
A “whole of nation” approach involving non-government institutions and civil society organizations, he said, is key to ending the communist insurgency.
He also said the government is sincere in accepting back communist rebels who give up armed struggle as he urged them to take advantage of reintegration programs.