UN rapporteur’s report on NTF-ELCAC incomplete — Año

November 15, 2023 | 6:47pm

MANILA, Philippines — National Security Adviser Eduardo Año said that the United Nation Rapporteur’s report on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is incomplete. 

He said this after Ian Fry, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, recommended the abolishment of the NTF-ELCAC.

“In the interest of fairness and justice, he should have raised his concerns with us to ensure that he has full appreciation of the body’s mandate, operations, and over-all directions,”  Año said in a statement.

“Fry’s report must be deemed incomplete.  Clarity in context is required to enrich his report and render the same relevant,” he added.

Año is also the vice chairman of NTF-ELCAC.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Fry said that the NTF-ELCAC is operating with impunity and recommended that the government should establish another body to replace it.

“It [NTF-ELCAC] moved beyond its mandate and its usefulness and needs to be disbanded outright and the government needs to develop another approach to deal with the terrorism issue,” he said.

Año then invited Fry for a dialogue.  

“Reiterating that Fry has had a very limited time in his visit, we extend an open invitation to him for a dialogue in the near future before he finalizes his report. We would consider his acceptance of this offer as an indication to truly preserve the integrity of his mandate to engage States on matters of human rights in an inclusive, impartial, and non-discriminatory manner,” Año added. 

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, who is also a member of NTF-ELCAC, said that they should not interfere with the government’s mechanisms.

“Internal mechanism sa gobyerno natin yan, huwag silang makikialam,” Remulla said in a press briefing with reporters. (That’s an internal mechanism in our government, they shouldn’t interfere.)

“Wag sila makikialam sa kung paano natin patatakbuhin ang ating gobyerno,” he added. (They should not interfere with how we run our government.)

NTF-ELCAC has been criticized by various groups due to its red-tagging since its creation in December 2018. 

In September 2023, two former members of the NTF-ELCAC were reprimanded by the Ombudsman after they linked a group of lawyers to the communist insurgency.

On October 19, Philstar.com reported that the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs has withdrawn its membership to the NTF-ELCAC. — with reports from Bella Cariaso and Rommel Lopez.


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