Belgian aid for community work in Philippines go to front organizations: report
A government task force created by President Rodrigo Duterte to create a national peace framework to end the communist insurgency told the European Council the Belgian government confirmed giving millions of euros in aid to communities in the Philippines which end up in some front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
In a press statement by the Philippine Information Agency on Saturday, it said the disclosure was made ''early this week'' in Brussels.
Brig. General Antonio Parlade, deputy Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff for operations, said the Belgian government informed them they have been giving three million euros, an equivalent of one billion pesos for five years.
“We received information from the Belgian government that they are actually providing funds to these organizations in the Philippines through Belgian NGOs (non-government organzations). They are giving 3 million euros every year for five years, totaling fifteen million euros. That’s close to 1 billion pesos,” said Parlade.
“But we already have an idea where these funds are going. A list was provided by the Belgians and we realize that these groups are allies and front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF ( Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front),” Parlade added.
The national task force said the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed their government has been supporting community work in the Philippines and had allocated 15 million euros for a period of five years (2017 to 2021), released at three million euros per year to several civil society organizations.
The Belgian officials identified the organizations they support, which are operating in rural communities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
''Coincidentally, the identified groups appeared in the list of front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF as disclosed by officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines'', the Philippine Information Agency said.
An official report from the national task force, co-chaired by the National Security Adviser, has been submitted to the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva for its appropriate action during a recent trip to Switzerland.
The European Commission had assured the national task force of a plan of action in response to the submitted reports on possible terrorism financing of Belgium and other EU members states in the Philippines.
"We will have an independent financial audit on this. You can be reassured that we will monitor the country’s expenditures and donors who may have given to the organizations for the same activity. We will share with you the outcome of the external audit," said Gunnar Weigand, managing director of European External Action Service and European Commission South East Division of Development and Cooperation. DMS