Statement of the Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines on the red-tagging of the NTF ELCAC
December 10, 2019
This International Human Rights Day, the Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines (CEC), condemns in the highest terms the continuous attacks on its organization and fellow environmental and human rights defenders and workers. On December 4, 2019, Major General Antonio Parlade Jr. of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations made a statement claiming that CEC, along with other CSOs are “unwittingly exploited by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).” He further advised the public not to donate to CEC in the onslaught of the Typhoon Tisoy (Kammuri).
CEC is an environmental organization, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and has worked with other government agencies, academic institutions, and esteemed local and international organizations such as the United Nations. It was drawn into humanitarian and developmental assistance at the height of super-typhoon Yolanda and another mining disaster owing to the glaring neglect, inefficiency, and corruption in the government’s disaster risk management.
The government has long lost the confidence not only of its constituents but also of its regular donors that the latter have sought out NGOs like the CEC to ensure delivery of much-needed rehabilitation assistance. CEC helped rebuild and repair houses, dispersed farm tools, and trained communities on agro-ecology, on organic backyard gardening, organizational strengthening, and financial management. With the sheer passion and commitment of its staff, CEC also supported the communities’ demand for the release of the promised, but corruption-ridden, Emergency Shelter Assistance. It also helped expose the environmental risks and damages that the wasteful infrastructure currently being built along the banks of Tacloban, Palo and Tanauan would cause.
CEC delivered its target services, reached more beneficiaries and did more, while fully accounting the funds to its donors. The communities in Iloilo, Leyte, Samar and even Zambales can attest to these accomplishments, that no amount of vilification can erase this fact. CEC has delivered where the government has failed. CEC deserves commendation and continuing support. If it cannot stop the insurgents, the military would be better off helping the government work a way out of its own corruption and incompetence in order to regain the people’s trust. Leave environmental and human rights defenders alone.