P16-B funds for NPA-cleared villages cannot be abused by NTF-ELCAC — Lacson

Robie de Guzman   •   May 7, 2021   •   464

MANILA, Philippines — The P16.4-billion allocation for the development of communities cleared from the influence of the New People’s Army (NPA) this year has already been released and “cannot be abused” by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), Senator Panfilo Lacson said Friday.

Lacson gave this assurance to fellow lawmakers who are eyeing to defund NTF-ELCAC over red-tagging issues.

“Being the sponsor of the NTF-ELCAC’s 2021 budget, it is my obligation and responsibility to defend the Department of Budget and Management’s release of funds which will be implemented not by the NTF-ELCAC but by the local government units concerned,” Lacson said in a statement.

Lacson, as chairperson of the Senate Committee on National Defense, sponsored and defended the budget of the Department of National Defense (DND) and its attached agencies for 2021.

The senator also pointed out that the fund is not even at the disposal of the security sector since it is part of the Special Purpose Fund under the Assistance to Local Government Units (ALGU), for holding and developing barangays cleared of NPA influence.

Citing Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) issued by the Department of Budget and Management in relation to the NTF-ELCAC’s Barangay Development Program, Lacson said the P9.699 billion released so far will fund development programs, activities, and projects (PAP) in 485 of 822 barangay beneficiaries.

Projects worth P1 million or less will be implemented by the barangay; those worth more than P1 million but not more than P10 million by the city or municipality; and those worth more than P10 million by the province.

PAPs for the cleared barangays include the construction of water systems, local roads, school buildings, and day-care centers.

The P9.699 billion released represents 59 percent of the total P16.4 billion for 1,374 development programs, projects and activities. It includes P9.275 billion for infrastructure; P165.4 million for livelihood/social services; P159.06 million for electrification; P84,525 for agriculture; and P15,500 for COVID-19, Lacson said.

Meanwhile, Lacson said he is still waiting for the leadership of the Department of National Defense to comply with the 1987 Constitution by relieving Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. as NTF-ELCAC spokesperson, “after being assured by a high official of the task force of prompt action on the matter.”

The senator has been pushing for Parlade’s removal from the post, stressing that his holding of a position in a civilian body like the NTF-ELCAC violates Article XVI, Sec 5, paragraph 4 of the 1987 Constitution.

The said provision states that “no member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries.”

“Having shown that the release of funds complies with the Constitution, when will the defense establishment – including NTF-ELCAC vice-chairperson Sec. Hermogenes Esperon Jr., who had said he will review Parlade’s fate as NTF-ELCAC spokesperson – comply with the Constitution as well? I am still waiting for the appropriate response. I just hope the wait won’t be too long,” Lacson said.

Duterte appoints Antonio Parlade to Nat’l Security Council

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed retired military general Antonio Parlade as deputy director general of the National Security Council (NSC), Malacañang said Thursday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that the president signed Parlade’s appointment on Sept. 8.

Parlade retired as head of the military’s Southern Luzon Command in July.

“Deputy Director-General Parlade faithfully served the Armed Forces of the Philippines for many years until his retirement from the service,” Roque said.

“We are therefore confident that his length of fruitful service in the military would immensely contribute in the crafting of plans and policies affecting national security,” he added.

Parlade previously served as spokesperson for the government’s Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict.

He became controversial for his remarks linking some organizers of community pantries to the communist group. Some senators even called for his resignation and proposed defunding the task force over the issue.

In a separate statement, Parlade thanked Duterte for the “renewed trust and confidence.”

“Another opportunity to continue serving our people in a different capacity. Time to take care of unfinished business,” he said.

Esperon hopes petition to Comelec vs. partylist groups resolved before 2022 polls

Maris Federez   •   August 16, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. hopes that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will resolve the two separate petitions filed by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) before the 2022 National Elections.

“Since there will be a registration of parties for the coming elections, we certainly pray and are confident that the COMELEC will resolve these petitions,” Esperon said.

The NTF-ELCAC believes the two petitions they filed before Comelec is a national security issue that needs to be resolved immediately.

The government task force filed separate petitions against Gabriela Women’s Party and Kabataan Partylist groups for the cancellation of their registration in the partylist system for violating the election law and the Constitution.

According to NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Atty. Marlon Bosantog who filed the petitions, they have evidence that Kabataan Partylist is linked to CPP-NPA-NDF.

“We have a witness from the time it was created, to its constitution, to its purpose. We have witnesses that testify the recruitment of the Kabataan Partylist as a funnel of NPA fighters,” Bosantog said.

“We have testimonies to show that the current sitting representative of Kabataan Partylist personally recruited and inform them to go to the mountains and bear arms against the government,” he added.

On August 12, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon testified before Comelec 2nd Division via teleconference regarding the task force’s petition against Gabriela Partylist.

NTF-ELCAC said Gabriela is receiving financial assistance from a foreign government and from non-government organizations which violates the Constitution and Comelec rules.

“And upon further verification by AMLC, we found out that Gabriela has been receiving funds from the Belgian government as well as Belgian NGO as well as other NGO’s in Europe,” Esperon said.

However, Gabriela Partylist Representative Arlene Brosas refuted the allegations, accusing the ELCAC of spreading lies.

“Puro mga kasinungalingan. Kung anu-anong claims po ang mga sinasabi sa atin diyan sa pagkakaso sa atin sa COMELEC dahil ang gusto talaga ay hindi tayo makatakbo,” Brosas said.

Kabataan partylist group, meanwhile, has yet to comment on the issue. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Parlade retires from military service; Bacarro assumes post as new SOLCOM chief

Robie de Guzman   •   July 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) commander Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. has formally retired from the military service, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Monday.

A joint change of command and retirement ceremony, presided by AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana, was held on Sunday, July 25, at the SOLCOM Headquarters in Camp Nakar, Quezon Province.

In a statement, Sobejana cited Parlade’s contributions, including his campaign to eradicate the operations of communist terrorist groups in Southern Luzon.

“Southern Luzon Command, under Lt.Gen. Parlade, certainly ensured that the people of Southern Tagalog and Bicol Region are free from the influence of the enemies of the state, who continuously resort to violence, intimidation, and deception in pursuing their crooked interests and vile goals,” Sobejana said.

“As Commander of SOLCOM, Lt.Gen. Parlade pursued the effective and timely implementation of Campaign Plans that aim to finally neutralize or destroy the remaining communist terrorist groups (CTGs) operating in Southern Luzon,” he added.

“Working hand-in-hand with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, SOLCOM was able to address insurgency in the region through combat operations and by addressing the root causes of insurgency.”

The AFP also said that Parlade led the Command in implementing stakeholder engagements and community support programs to identify and address issues that the CTGs exploit for their propaganda.

He also led SOLCOM in the activation of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Task Groups, in close coordination with Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils, which enabled the Command to promptly respond to any eventualities, especially during the recent eruptions of Taal volcano.

“Indeed, SOLCOM, under the leadership of Lt.Gen. Parlade, is always ready to safeguard the people of Southern Luzon from whatever danger or unwanted circumstances that threaten the security environment in the area of operations,” Sobejana said.

Parlade is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Hinirang” Class of 1987.

The AFP said Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division commander Major General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro will replace Parlade as the new SOLCOM chief.

Bacarro is a member of the PMA “Maringal” Class of 1988.

He previously served as the Commandant of the PMA Cadet Corps and as Internal Auditor of the AFP, Chief of Staff of 4th Infantry Division, Commander of 502nd Infantry Brigade, and also the Head of the AFP-ELCAC.

He is also a graduate of the US Army Command & General Staff Course in Kansas, USA.

Bacarro was awarded the Medal of Valor “for acts of conspicuous courage, gallantry, and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty” during an encounter with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Isabela in 1991.

“Major General Bacarro’s bravery and gallantry are beyond reproach. He is a leader who never leaves his men behind in the direst of situations,” Sobejana said.

“I expect that he will usher in more accomplishments and milestones not only for this command but also for the whole of Southern Luzon,” he added.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.