From the Business Mirror (Mar 31, 2019): IBON dares Armed Forces: Act on accusations vs NGOs
Think tank IBON Foundation challenged Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to prove their allegations before a court and shut them down already if they have any evidence to back up their claims that they have links with
This, after European Union (EU) and Belgium agreed to look into AFP’s request to stop donations to nongovernment organizations (NGOs) allegedly connected to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Sought for comment, IBON Foundation Executive Director Jose Enrique A. Africa said EU and Belgium are just acting to protect its diplomatic relations with the country.
Nonetheless, Africa vowed they will cooperate with the investigation as they have “nothing to hide.”
“If the AFP has any evidence about their allegations then they should charge all of us in court, prove it and shut us down already. But they don’t and can’t because all they have are their stories,” he said in a text message to the BusinessMirror.
“This is most of all about how the Duterte administration is scared of meaningful criticism and of those unafraid to voice this.”
IBON earlier said the Duterte administration is just aiming to stifle economic analysis which is inconsistent with its preferred narrative of growth and development.
It has also already clarified that it is not now receiving funding from either the EU or Belgian government and that the group’s funds is not being used for terrorism.
Aside from IBON, human-rights group Karapatan was also tagged by the government with links to the communist rebels.
Karapatan has also expressed confidence that these accusations will easily be debunked and urged the Duterte administration to not block efforts of United Nations and International Criminal Court to investigate the alleged human-rights violations in the country.
“Amid the false and malicious accusations hurled against organizations like Karapatan, we have been openly addressing these issues as we ask for dialogues with the European Union and other governments to directly talk to us. We are confident that these red-tagging schemes, taken to the international arena by a government who wishes to discredit us, will be sufficiently refuted by years of our human-rights advocacy for marginalized communities,” Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay said.
“We echo the same challenge to the Duterte government and its rabid gang of militarists: If indeed human-rights organizations are merely spouting lies to defame the government, then do not block efforts by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and United Nations Independent Experts to investigate these human-rights violations that we have reported and exposed,” Palabay said.
AFP Spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo has also stood firm that they would be able to prove their case before the countries supporting the organizations which they linked to the communist rebels.
Arevalo also said the EU said it was pleased that the EU ambassador and Belgium ambassadors accepted the request by the National Task Force (NTF) to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. The task force was created by President Duterte.
Arevalo added the EU did not just commit to look into “voluminous documents” that the NTF submitted but also committed to enlist a third party firm to audit the funds they donated to NGOs that they have reported to have links with CPP-NPA.