By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has called on the European Union (EU) to halt its funding to communist-linked groups out to destabilize the government.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the appeal after National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. wrote to the EU against financing the front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) alleged involved in supposed terrorist activities.
“The EU should because the funding will be used in destabilizing the government” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.
“If these are legal fronts and their main purpose is to break down the government, then the EU should reconsider,” he added.
Esperon, in a letter to EU counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, claimed that the communist rebel group, through its legal fronts, was exploiting EU funds to propagate terrorism in the guise of pro-poor projects.
Esperon said the funds were allegedly used to bankroll terrorist front organizations to recruit and exploit child warriors. The resources were also supposedly used “to recruit and exploit vulnerable sectors such as indigenous people (IP), the systematic destruction of the latter’s culture and value system, and the murder of their leaders.”
“Through these front organizations, the CPP-NPA is able to solicit and exploit funds from countries in the EU and the EU itself to support legitimate projects that are made to appear as aiding the poor,” Esperon said in the letter.
Last February, the government sent a delegation to Europe to plead for a cessation of foreign funding of groups connected with the communist terrorist group.
The EU has agreed to audit the funds released to these groups and put on hold any pending allocation for as long as it can, according to Armed Forces deputy chief of staff Brig. General Antonio Parlade Jr.
Parlade said the EU representatives were surprised to find out some organizations were connected with the communist group. He said the EU has promised to stop funding the programs of these front organizations but asked first for additional evidence to support the government’s allegations.