Marcos Jr.’s NTF-ELCAC, NSP pose grave dangers on freedom of expression, rights

“No amount of posturing and lies by the Marcos Jr. administration, the NTF-ELCAC and all other operators of its counter-insurgency program, can hide the dire violations of freedom of opinion and expression and the sordid human rights situation under his National Security Policy,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, a day after UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression Irene Khan met with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and Anti-Terrorism Council.

According to Palabay, their yet another denial that red-tagging is a policy “further brings them deeper in their pit of lies.” She reiterated that “the NTF-ELCAC’s ‘whole-of-nation-approach,’ a war tactic adopted from the US war on terror campaign, directly subverts the concept of the supremacy of the role of citizens and civilian authority over the government’s militarist goals and means.”

“It is in the NSP that the Marcos Jr. government stated that it shall continue its actions against the ‘legal fronts.’ It only means one thing: its renewed campaign of terrorist-tagging,” Palabay said.

The Marcos Jr. administration’s NSP 2023-2028, signed on August 10, 2023 and was released a few days after, read, “Among the goals of the Marcos Jr.’s administration’s NSP is that “the Government shall strengthen its action against the legal fronts of the CPP-NPA-NDF to stop recruitment, cut financial sources, and debunk their propaganda.”

“No matter how the Philippine government says a hundred times that there is no government policy of ‘red-tagging,’ it is clear that the NTF-ELCAC’s fascist operations and the Marcos’s NSP spelled out its targets for suppression. The policy and practice of killing and silencing dissent, literally and figuratively, are in plain view of the public,” said Palabay.

Karapatan reported that these have resulted in thousands of victims of rights violations, and incidents where the people’s fundamental rights are grossly violated.

“The people remain in grave danger as the Marcos Jr. administration harnesses all available resources to surveil, profile, tag as terrorists, marginalize, persecute and inflict other human rights violations against the poor and other critical voices. The NTF-ELCAC cannot forever act as if it has nothing to answer for its notorious record of attacks and human rights violations. We reiterate our urgent call for its abolition,” Palabay ended. #