Neri Colmenares on Vice President Leni Robredo’s “turnaround” on NTF-ELCAC’s abolition: “Worrisome”
NERI COLMENARES — Here’s what the senatorial aspirant and former Bayan Muna lawmaker said about Vice President Leni Robredo’s “turnaround” on NTF-ELCAC’s abolition.
On Saturday, Colmenares decried as “worrisome” the supposed change in Robredo’s position on the abolition of NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict).
The Vice President, who previously called for the abolition of the government’s counter-insurgency task force, was expressing support for it as she noted that “careless members” have put the task force in a bad light.
“VP Leni’s seeming turnaround on her earlier call to abolish the NTF-Elcac is worrisome,” Colmenares said in a statement. “May I respectfully point out to the Vice President that the problem with the NTF-ELCAC can not be merely attributed to its ‘careless members’ but to a systemic policy that includes harassment and attacks against anyone perceived to be left-leaning or critical of the administration.”
The Vice President, who made the statement during the security meeting given by the newly-appointed officials of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), added that she’s “for all for the mandate and the functions” of NTF-ELCAC such as the Barangay Development Fund.
Robredo previously vowed to abolish the government’s counter-insurgency task force, saying that the government and the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) needed to create a conducive environment for peace talks.
Her allies in the Senate also slashed the budget of NTF-ELCAC to PHP 4 billion from the initially proposed PHP 19 billion.
Meanwhile, Colmenares pointed out that the creation of the government’s counter-insurgency task force wasn’t the solution to the insurgency.
According to him, President Rodrigo Duterte created the NTF-ELCAC “precisely to expand his violent and militarist approach to the armed rebel movement”, to target unarmed civilians by “vilifying them as communist-terrorist supporters and fronts”, and to include the entire civilian bureaucracy in the guise of a “whole of government” approach.
“Its actions exacerbate, rather than resolve, the roots of the armed conflict,” Colmenares said.