By Roy Mabasa
The European Union (EU) has assured the Philippine government that it will again conduct an investigation into allegations that some of the funds it has given to certain local non-government organizations (NGOs) were funneled to the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“On 28 March, the EU received a set of documents concerning the more specific allegations by the (Philippine) Government. The EU now will verify and evaluate these documents. A financial audit by an external company is due to be conducted in April,” the EU said in a statement over the weekend.
In January, the EU said it has also responded to earlier allegations put forward by the Philippine government in January against a specific NGO.
The EU pointed out that the allegations that funds were allegedly funneled from that NGO to the Communist rebels have not been verified.
“It should be noted that so far the NGO is fully registered and continues to operate legally in the Philippines,” the EU added.
In February, the EU received a delegation composed of officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Presidential Communications Office in Brussels to better understand the precise content on the latest allegations.
During the meeting, the EU declared that it stands ready to receive precise information that would enable it to further evaluate and verify the allegations.
“Should the allegations be established, the EU immediately would take full legal action,” it said.
Since 2005, the EU stressed that it considers the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups, which means inter alia, that no assets can be held in the EU by these organizations.
Also last week, the government of Belgium said it is now conducting a parallel probe on the claims made by the Philippine government that some NGOs- beneficiaries of their funding are funneling the said funds to Communist rebels.
“We are aware of the claim made by the Philippine government. We take this claim seriously and have started immediately investigating the matter, together with the European authorities,” the Embassy of Belgium in Manila said in a statement sent to reporters on Friday.
The Belgian Embassy emphasized that the funding it gives to recipient NGO is subject to “strong legal requirements” under their laws.
Earlier, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. wrote the EU a letter claiming that at least 60 percent of the funding often received by the so-called legal fronts are diverted to the CPP-NPA through the so-called “triple or multiple funding scheme.”
The triple or multiple funding schemes, according to the NSA chief, is being done by simultaneously submitting a single proposal to different countries.