Volume V, Number 17 - September 15, 2023
The decision of the Catholic church leadership thru its Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to join the much-despised NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) has drawn condemnation, confusion, and disillusionment not only from within the religious institution but also from many sections of Filipino society.
The NTF-ELCAC is a fascist agency with billions in funding, designed to attack the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people. Its unstated aim bears similarity to Hitler’s so-called “final solution” which inflicted death and destruction to millions of Jews. The NTF-ELCAC’s counterrevolutionary campaign is also patterned after the US-designed “Jakarta method” which decimated communists and their supporters in Indonesia during the 1960s. The deranged former president Duterte had suggested following the same scenarios in several of his delirious public tirades.
Since its founding in 2018, the NTF-ELCAC has openly engaged in virulent terror-tagging, vilification, defamation, harassment, justification of murder, and the perpetuation of a massive disinformation campaign not only against human rights advocates, and church persons, but also against lawyers, teachers, students, doctors, health workers, and even mainstream actors – almost anyone it deems pro-democracy, for simply upholding civil liberties and basic freedoms.
The most victimized by the consequences of the NTF-ELCAC’s tirades are (using the Catholic Church’s own jargon) – the poor, deprived and oppressed, the workers, and especially the peasants in the vast semifeudal countryside.
To further empower the GRP’s terror-tagging machinery, the so-called Anti-Terror Law (ATL) was enacted in 2020 and was carried out against those publicly vilified and red-tagged by the NTF-ELCAC.
Since then, many Filipinos have fallen victim to the dangers wrought by the NTF-ELCAC and the ATL, most especially church people and missionaries, mainly from the Catholic church, who have taken the side of the Filipino people in their quest for genuine freedom, democracy, justice, and peace.
The CBCP later clarified that its intention in joining the NTF-ELCAC was meant to provide an “opportunity to express the Church’s specific concerns” including the rampant red tagging of activists and Church personalities. But if this were the case, it is far more effective to raise these concerns from outside the NTF-ELCAC rather than joining it.
By becoming part of the NTF-ELCAC’s Executive Committee, the CBCP essentially gave its virtual endorsement to the fascist objectives of the agency. Indeed, even before the dusts of the confusion and flak settled over the CBCP’s decision to join the NTF, the notorious agency has already gleefully boasted of the supposed “blessing” it got from this recent alliance.
The CBCP’s move to join the NTF-ELCAC adds another nail in the coffin of systemic injustices and rights violations committed by the US-Marcos regime not only on Church people and its institutions but also the countless number of Filipinos killed, forcibly disappeared, imprisoned, terror-tagged, and vilified in the name of the GRP’s counterrevolutionary crusade.
The CBCP must disengage from its deal with the devil, and call for the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC and the repeal of the Anti-Terror Law.