By Aaron Recuenco
The ambassadors of the European Union and Belgium have agreed to look into the request of the Philippine government to audit the funds they donate to non-government organizations which local security officials earlier tagged as having links with the Communist rebels.
Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the request was made by the National Task Force which was created by President Duterte to end Communist insurgency in the country.
“We are pleased with how the EU Ambassador accepted the submission of the National Task Force (NTF) where the AFP is a part of. The EU did not just commit to look into the voluminous documents the NTF has submitted, it even committed to enlist a third party firm to audit the funds they donated to NGOs we reported to have links with the terrorist Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army (NPA),” said Arevalo.
The CPP-NPA has been waging more than four decades of armed struggle against the government— the longest running communist insurgency in Asia.
Attempts to strike a peace deal with the Communist groups would always bog down; the recent was under President Duterte who earlier cancelled the peace talks.
Instead, the government is now pushing for localized peace talks by tapping local security and government officials to initiate or accept peace negotiations with local commanders operating in their areas.
Following the cancellation of the peace talks, security officials have trained their eyes on what they described as legal fronts of the CPP-NPA such as Anakbayan, Karapatan and other militant organizations which also include Alliance of Concerned Teachers.
The PNP earlier sought for profiling of all teachers who are members of the ACT.
Arevalo said that Belgium is now considering all the arguments raised by the Philippine government against non-government organizations identified with the communist rebels.
“Even Belgium has reported that it is taking the claim seriously and is now conducting an investigation pursuant to the submission to ensure that their donations comply with their strict legal requirements’,” said Arevalo.
“We express our appreciation to the EU and the Belgian Ambassadors to the Philippines for the manifest keen interest of their governments. It shows that they desire to ensure that their support do not end up with organizations that actually or indirectly support terrorist activities,” he added.
Arevalo expressed confidence that they would be able to prove their case before the countries supporting the organizations which they linked to the communist rebels.
“We are confident that we will succeed in proving our case. Soon the flow of funds to organizations like Ibon Foundation, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Anakbayan, and other front organizations will stop. It will also halt the many years spent and millions of pesos funneled to support the terrorist movement,” said Arevalo.