Marcos Jr.’s support for NTF-ELCAC to ensure continuity of father’s bloody legacy, Duterte’s murderous campaigns

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

Presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is “clearly set to ensure the continuity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous campaigns and his father’s bloody legacy of State violence and repression,” human rights alliance Karapatan said on Monday, as the group slammed Marcos Jr.’s promise to increase the funding of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) should he win the presidency in the upcoming national elections.

“Marcos Jr.’s pledge to pour more of our taxes to the NTF-ELCAC if he wins the presidency only makes it undeniably clear that he is set to ensure and continue his father’s and Duterte’s legacies of red-tagging, extrajudicial killings, and trumped-up charges against activists, human rights defenders, and political dissenters — and to block efforts to exact justice and accountability for their crimes against the Filipino people,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay stated.

In his statement, Marcos Jr. praised the NTF-ELCAC amid calls to defund and abolish the task force after State auditors flagged several agencies in their use of NTF-ELCAC funds. Only 26 or 1% of the NTF-ELCAC’s 2,318 projects were reportedly completed last year. The NTF-ELCAC was allocated 17.1 billion pesos in this year’s national budget, and the bulk of its funds would go to the so-called projects of the Barangay Development Program (BDP). Marcos Jr. particularly promised to give more funds to the BDP.

Palabay, however, averred that “these ‘clearing’ operations as prerequisites for barangays to be qualified to receive 20 million pesos from the BDP basically enable, reward, and incentive human rights violations in the government’s counterinsurgency campaigns such as extrajudicial killings, arrests, and harassment, as well as fake and forced surrenders of activists, human rights defenders, and other community leaders red-tagged as ‘communists’ or ‘terrorists.’”

“Far from pursuing lasting peace in Philippines, Marcos Jr.’s all-out support for the NTF-ELCAC reveals the warmonger and fascist that he is — very much like his father, who declared martial law in 1972 and cemented his dictatorship 49 years ago using the same anti-communist hysteria. As the elections draw near, candidates must take a firm stand to abolish the NTF-ELCAC, and to oppose all efforts for a Marcos restoration and a Duterte extension,” the Karapatan official ended.