Abolish NTF-ELCAC, hold Badoy-Partosa accountable for crimes

Human rights group Karapatan renewed its call for the abolition of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), as the task force commended its former spokesperson Lorraine Badoy-Partosa after she had been widely criticized by lawyers’ groups and individuals over her red-tagging and reported threats of Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar. The group also scored former President Rodrigo Duterte and the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) over statements and resolutions calling for the “full activation” of the NTF-ELCAC.

“Clearly, the Marcos Jr. administration, through the NTF-ELCAC and allies such as Duterte and the PDP-Laban, continue to coddle the likes of Badoy-Partosa because notorious red-taggers like her pursue their bankrupt and militarist counterinsurgency framework, which has resulted in numerous extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

Nearing its 100th day in office, the Marcos Jr. administration is nowhere near  holding former and current officials accountable for their dangerous and harmful incitement to violence and abolishing NTF-ELCAC, Karapatan said. “This is another indication that the current administration is merely continuing the repressive and fascist policies of the murderous Duterte regime,” stated Palabay.

“The NTF-ELCAC claims to address the roots of the decades-long armed conflict in the country through its ‘whole-of-nation’ counterinsurgency framework and tactics like the so-called ‘localized peace talks,’ but what the NTF-ELCAC actually does is the opposite: it wants to cut off any possibility of resuming formal peace talks and, in doing so, it refuses to acknowledge that the causes of armed conflict are systemic, historical, and national in scope,” the Karapatan official continued.

"As far as we have observed," said Palabay, "the so-called localized peace initiatives have merely served as a front for the forced surrender of civilians accused of supporting the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army and have not in any way resolved the social, economic and political roots of the armed conflict."

“Ramping up localized peace talks under a militarist framework that disregards the deep-seated problems driving the armed conflict will not lead to genuine, just and lasting peace. Worse, it can only result in more rampant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” Karapatan said.

“We call on all human rights advocates, concerned institutions and communities to press for the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC and to hold the likes of Badoy-Partosa accountable for their endangerment of the lives, liberty and security of numerous individuals and groups,” Palabay concluded. #