by Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA — Human rights group Karapatan, an organization espousing instability and violence, has no right to remind the government that its foremost role is the promotion and protection of human rights.
The government has no need of such reminders as it carries out its obligations readily, Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) said in a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency Thursday.
“You don’t need to remind the State of its obligations, we know them. That’s why we have to tell our people what kind of organization you truly are,” he added.
Parlade, who is also Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations, made this comment in response to Karapatan’s statement saying the government’s primary duties are the promotion and observance of human rights.
He said he finds Karapatan’s calls ironic as the militant group’s role in the communist insurgency movement is to create public awareness on their illegal movement and bail out members nabbed by government forces — a far cry from its pronounced human rights advocacies.
“You are an alliance of advocates for instability and violence. You don’t only raise awareness of the experiences of affected Red fighters and your progressive allies. More than anything you raise funds out of this and bail out terrorist criminals,” he added.
He criticized the militant group for not denouncing acts of violence committed by Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) violations against the Indigenous Peoples (IP) and brutal torture and execution of police officers in Ayungon, Negros Oriental last July 18.
“You have more than enough democratic space to air your grievances. It’s time to act — denounce the NPA violations of IP rights. Denounce the NPA brutality against the four captured and summarily executed cops,” he added.
Parlade also slammed Karapatan’s tirade against National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr, who singled them out as “legal front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines.”
“Right, you are not just ‘some legal front’ organization. You are an illegal organization, scamming funds from other organizations to help fund a revolution and terrorism,” Parlade said in response to Karapatan’s comment.
The group’s alleged identification as a front group for the CPP-NPA, he said, is highlighted by their actions and not through the efforts of the government.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines
“Why can’t you talk about the rights of many parents now asking for the return of their children recruited in PUP(Polytechnic University of the Philippines) by your allies in Anakbayan, and are now in danger after joining the NPAs in the hills? They are minors. Say something,” he dared.
Parlade urged Karapatan to stop scapegoating the government and the military as this will not get their funding back from European donors back. He added that this tactic is repeatedly being exploited by the militant group because of this funding scam.
“The IPs are back from the US. Meet them and listen to their plight. If you do, then maybe it will convince the people you are not fake human rights defenders. Take the challenge – discuss our issues over national TV. Let the people hear where your version of ‘truth’ is coming from,” he said. (PNA)