Dated August 4, the Philippine National Police of Southern Police District is set to conduct an “information drive” to distribute National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) materials in San Lorenzo Village in Makati City.
Human rights group Karapatan National Capital Region denounced the PNP-SPD alongside NTF-ELCAC in their desperate attempt to spread disinformation and red-tagging threats across the communities in the metro.
“Lubos na kinukundena ng Karapatan NCR ang paglulustay ng gobyerno sa pondo ng bayan sa mga walang kabuluhang programa at aktibidad tulad ng NTF-ELCAC at malawakang pagpapakalat ng anti-insurgency propaganda para matakpan ang harassment, red-tagging, at iba pang porma ng pandarahas na isinasagawa ng mga pwersa ng estado sa mamamayang Pilipino,” Karapatan NCR said in a statement.
[Karapatan NCR strongly condemns the government’s wasting of public funds on meaningless programs and activities such as NTF-ELCAC and widespread dissemination of anti-insurgency propaganda to cover up harassment, red-tagging, and other forms of violence carried out by state forces on the Filipino people]
According to Karapatan NCR, police personnel and NTF-ELCAC misled communities with their so-called outreach programs, seminars, and providing social and economic services in exchange for the people’s signature and fake confessions as per being a surrenderee of the communist armed wing New Peoples Army (NPA).
The group noted that the police and the military also frequently visited members of Home Owners’ Associations in Metro Manila in their homes which is a tactic to further intimidate residents who are fighting for their housing rights.
Urban militarization in Metro Manila
Such an attempt of urban militarization transpired in Makati is akin to communities of Maysapang in Taguig City, in Pook Arboretum in Quezon City, as well as in Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela (CAMANAVA) areas.
Maysapang community in Brgy. Ususan Taguig has long been fighting for housing rights since 2015. Nagkakaisang Residente ng Maysapang Homeowners Association Inc. (NRMHOAI) lambasted R-II builders and MGS consortium through Jericko Security Agency backed by police personnel amid a series of physical harassment, intimidation, and assault endured by the residents of Maysapang.
R-II Builders is a Reghis Romero-owned construction firm company who also owned the Manila North Harbor Port Inc. with more than 300 displaced workers since 2020.
It was just on February 29 when NTF-ELCAC went to their community disguised in community outreach efforts.
According to NRMHOI president Girlie Caduco, PNP and NTF-ELCAC’s real intention is to meddle with the collective and united efforts of Maysapang residents against the threats of eviction and demolition.
“Ang ikinabahala pa ng mga residente ay nung may nagpakilala rito na sumukong NPA at dating nakatira sa Maysapang. Eh wala naman kaming kilala, o di namin siya kilala bago ang alam namin ay kasama niya ang mga pulis tsaka yang NTF ELCAC dito sa amin,” said Caduco
[What the residents feared was when a certain individual introduced himself as an NPA surrenderee and a former resident in Maysapang. However, the residents have no idea who the person was except for the fact that he was with the PNP and NTF-ELCAC when the community outreach took place]
More than 15 police personnel were deployed in the community to conduct programs varying from feeding, job-hiring, and medical mission to discussions related to the drug war and Executive Order No. 70.
Executive order No 70 is a signed by then president Rodrigo Duterte in his “whole of nation approach” by means of waging war against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and NPA through Focused Military Operations (FMO) and Retooled Community Support Program Operation (RCSPO) alongside the establishment of NTF-ELCAC.
CPP and NPA were then tagged as terrorists and anyone linked to it may also be jailed especially at the helm of the enacted Anti-Terrorism law that many human rights groups criticized for overbroad and vague provisions.
While FMO and RCSPO mainly targeted communities in the rural areas, such can also occur in the urban especially in NCR in the context of raid operations, fabricated charges of illegal firearms and explosives possession, alongside outreach efforts among schools and communities under the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of NTF-ELCAC.
In fact, this 2022, NTF-ELCAC was allocated with a whopping P17.1 billion for BDP and is projecting to give P12 million to barangays who would participate in the counter-insurgency program. Last year, Duterte’s hometown Davao was NTF-ELCAC’s biggest recipient of at least P20 million among 215 barangays or at least P4.3 billion was laid out for a single region.
“Nagdadala ng takot at pangamba sa mga residente ng Maysapang ang mga serye ng pagbaba ng NTF-ELCAC. Sa kasalukuyan ay patuloy na may banta ng demolisyon sa Maysapang ngunit hindi nakaktulong ang ginagawa ng NTF-ELCAC para sa benepisyo ng laban ng mga residente. Walang ibang ginagawa ang NTF-ELCAC kundi magredtag at maglabel na terorista sa mga residente. Walang terorista sa Maysapang,” said local-based youth group Maysapang Youth Movement in a statement.
[NTF-ELCAC only brings fear to the residents of Maysapang. Currently, there is a constant threat of demolition in Maysapang but what NTF-ELCAC is doing is not helping the residents’ struggle. NTF-ELCAC does nothing but red tag and label residents as terrorists. But there are no terrorists in Maysapang]
Caduco reported several residents who became afraid to be part of NRMHOAI assuming that the association have links to NPA. In fact, even Caduco has been accused as a member of the red army.
“Tapos tinanong kung may KADAMAY dito, tapos tinanong din kung may KPL (Kabataan Partylist) Anakpawis, Gabriela, mga ganyan,” said Caduco.
[And then they were asking if there were members here of KADAMAY, KPL, Anakpawis, Gabriela, and the likes]
KADAMAY is an urban poor organization that primarily campaigns for the rights of marginalized and underserved communities in the urban. The rest of the organizations like KPL, Anakpawis, and Gabriela are among the progressive groups accused by NTF-ELCAC as terrorists while these intend to uphold the interest and rights of youth, women, and working-class sectors.