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Palace exec says NTF-ELCAC a human rights mechanism for peace

February 15, 2024

Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat Executive Director and Undersecretary Severo Catura has defended the mandate of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), saying it is actually a “human rights mechanism” aimed to foster long and lasting peace, sustainable development, and unity of the Filipino people.

Speaking during last Wednesday’s online press conference hosted by the Integrated Communications Operations Center (ICOC), Catura appealed to the media to help the government convey the truth and right information here and abroad about the Task Force’s mandate, contrary to all the vilification campaigns of some personalities and groups aligned to violent ideology of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

“The NTF-ELCAC, because of what it does, is actually a human rights mechanism to fulfill the state’s obligation to protect its people at all cost”, he said.

In fulfilling its mandate, the NTF-ELCAC engages in various activities such as community development, livelihood programs, and peace-building initiatives.

“Ang ginagawa natin dito (sa NTF-ELCAC) is very much anchored sa achievement of peace and development and using a human rights-based approach to achieving that peace and development,” Catura explained.

Through the government’s commitment to human rights, Catura said the Task Force seeks to build inclusive development where the needs of all individuals are recognized and addressed.

“All the elements for the successful long-lasting peace are already there and the NTF-ELCAC is very much part of that. The NTF-ELCAC is not a ‘bardagul’, it is a peace process and a human rights mechanism that I’m very proud to say to everyone”, he said.

Meanwhile, Catura expressed his appreciation to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in approaching recommendations made by government critics including the recent exit report of United Nations Special Rapporteur Irene Khan to disband NTF-ELCAC.

“In fairness with Commission on Human Rights, hindi nila sinakyan agad ‘yung sinasabi na i-abolish kasi sabi nila we will take that as well but then i-assess natin kung ano talaga ang nangyayari diyan even before we say na we agree with the UNSR,” said Catura, who served for almost two years as CHR director.

By refraining from immediately endorsing calls for its own abolition and instead opting to evaluate the situation carefully which is a “positive development”, Catura said the CHR has demonstrated a dedication to its mandate and principles.

“At the same time, it gives us the chance in the NTF-ELCAC na ihahayag talaga kung ano ang nangyayari”, he added.

Earlier, NTF-ELCAC Executive Director and Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr. urged the CHR to visit the office and allow them to present the mandate, mechanisms, and accomplishments the Task Force achieved since its creation in 2018 through Executive Order No. 70.###


Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco


February 15, 2024


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