The Philippine government has officially asked the European Union (EU) to stop funding some non-governmental organizations (NGO) which allegedly have ties to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
Hermogenes Esperon, the country’s National Security Adviser and Vice Chairman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, sent a letter dated March 26 to the EU, asking it to “immediately cease” funding for these NGOs. Esperon’s letter was made public yesterday.
In his letter, which was sent to Gilles De Kerchove, the EU’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Esperon alleged that the funds are being used to support the activities of the NPA, Manila Bulletin reported. He said the money is being used to “propagate terrorism” by using it to recruit and train children to become fighters.
He wrote in his letter: “It is appalling that these entities are used to radicalize children with the end view of turning them into child warriors and future leaders of the CPP-NPA communist-terrorist groups.”
The U.S. State Department and the European Union have both declared the CPP and the NPA as terrorist groups.
Esperon also wrote that the EU’s funds are also allegedly being used to “recruit and exploit” local indigenous people. According to him, this has led to the “systematic destruction” of their “culture and value system,” CNN Philippines reported.
Esperon alleged that feminist group GABRIELA (General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Action), research institution IBON Foundation, Karapatan, labor organization Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and the militant Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), all have links to the communist groups.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself alleged in December that the KMU and GABRIELA have ties to the CPP and NPA. But Duterte is not the first person to say that the KMU and Gabriela are communist fronts.
In 2006, a former CPP member named Pastor “Jun” Alcover said that the two groups are part of the CPP and NPA. He also said that the IBON Foundation is funded by the CPP, reported Philippine Star.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has also said that they have documents signed by CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, which allegedly say that the KMU and IBON Foundation have links to the CPP.
However, Sison denied that ACT is a communist front earlier this month, Philippine Star reported. IBON Foundation and Karapatan have also denied that they have ties to CPP.
In his letter, Esperon also said that the learning centers Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) and Salugpungan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center, Inc. are communist fronts.
He said both organizations run schools which are allegedly filled with books published by IBON Foundation that try “to inculcate in the minds of the students fabricated and unfounded claims that the government is remiss in its obligation to its citizenry.”
According to The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Esperon also identified three Belgian NGOs that have “indirectly and unwittingly” worked with these allegedly CPP-linked non-profit groups: Solidagro, which supports poor farmers and their families; Viva Salud, which provides access to healthcare, and KIYO, which advances children’s rights.
Earlier this month, the EU put their funding for these NGOs on hold and asked the government to provide documentation to prove that these NGOs have links to the CPP and NPA.