VERA FILES FACT CHECK: DILG Usec. Malaya wrongly claims NDF is listed as terrorist group by PH, other countries

Read this fact check in English

In a press release, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya erred in including the National Democratic Front (NDF) among the terror groups declared by the Philippines and other countries, as well as the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU).

STATEMENT

An Oct. 26 press release of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) quoted Malaya, concurrently the agency’s spokesperson, as having said:

“...the CPP/NPA/NDF has been declared in the country as a terrorist group through Proclamation 374 s. 2017 while other countries like the US, New Zealand, UK, Australia, the European Union have also declared them as terrorist organizations.”

Source: Department of Interior and Local Government, DILG: Nothing wrong with anti-NPA tarpaulins, Oct. 26, 2020
FACT

The statement attributed to Malaya bears two inaccurate claims.

First, while it did declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its military wing, the New People’s Army -- as one entity -- a terrorist organization, Proclamation 374, which President Rodrigo Duterte issued in December 2017, does not mention the NDF.

Second, the United States (U,S), New Zealand, U.K., Australia, and the EU have also not included the NDF in their official list of terrorist groups.

The aforementioned countries and the EU, meanwhile, have designated the CPP and NPA, singly or separately, as terrorist entities in accordance with their local laws and a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that prohibit terrorist acts and funding.

The DILG press release also had some geographic lapses. The EU is not considered as a country but a political union composed of 21 European countries. The UK, while considered as a unitary sovereign state, comprises four countries -- England, Scotland, and Wales (which collectively make up Great Britain), and Northern Ireland.

While Duterte designated as terrorist groups the CPP-NPA -- two of at least 17 allied organizations in the NDF -- through Proclamation No. 374, the Court of Appeals (CA) has yet to proscribe them as such. The Philippine government had peace negotiations with the NDF, the political arm of the CPP, but the talks were terminated in November 2017.

(See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte blows hot and cold with the Reds and VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Panelo falsely claims Duterte has always been open to peace talks with Reds)

Under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, or Republic Act 11479, which is heavily contested before the Supreme Court, a local or foreign group can be designated or proscribed as terrorist.

Section 25 of RA 11479 allows the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), a multi-agency body tasked to implement policies against terrorism, to designate individuals or groups as terrorists upon finding of probable cause, thereby providing basis for the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze assets.

However, Section 26 of the same law requires the Department of Justice to submit an application and establish probable cause against a suspected individual or terrorist group before the CA can grant preliminary and/or permanent proscription. Proscription means that membership or recruitment to join a proscribed group is punishable by 12 years and life imprisonment, respectively.

Malaya’s comments came after Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año defended the display of anti-communist tarpaulins as part of “free speech,” following Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s order to have those removed in his city as he pleaded for unity amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Visual elements of the tarpaulins showed a statement calling the CPP-NPA-NDF altogether as “terrorists” and declaring them as “persona non grata” (Latin for “an unwelcome person”) in Metro Manila. The tarpaulins bore the logos and contact numbers of the National Task Force to End Local Comunist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) -- a multi-agency body that oversees the implementation of a “whole-of-nation approach” to end the communist insurgency -- and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The PNP and NTF-ELCAC, however, contradicted each other on which produced the tarpaulins. Police Chief Camilo Cascolan said it was the NTF-ELCAC. But Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, a spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC, said on Oct. 21 that the task force was “not directly involved,” although it “fully supports and lauds the message” the tarpaulins were conveying.

Badoy made a similar false claim when she tagged the NDF, together with the CPP-NPA, as one entity designated as a terrorist group by Duterte and other countries. Badoy has been fact checked at least two times for wrongly claiming the NDF is a terror group. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Badoy red-tags nun; incorrectly labels NDF a terror group, again and VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Badoy errs in claiming NDF tagged as terror group by PH, other countries)

The anti-communist tarpaulins surfaced after military Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr., also a spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC, warned that celebrities Liza Soberano and Catriona Gray, both advocates of women’s rights, could suffer the same fate as that of Josephine Ann Lapira, a 22-year-old Gabriela Youth member who allegedly died in an encounter between the military and communist rebels in 2017, if they fail to “abdicate” from the feminist group Gabriela.

Parlade, who tags the CPP, NPA, and NDF as terrorists, claimed that Gabriela is a communist front.

Gabriela denounced Parlade’s statements for allegedly red-baiting Gray and Soberano. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Why ‘red-tagging’ is dangerous)

Editor’s note: VERA Files is one of the petitioners against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 before the Supreme Court.


Sources

Department of Interior and Local Government, DILG: Nothing wrong with anti-NPA tarpaulins, Oct. 26, 2020

National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, READ | Statement of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict regarding the tarpaulins declaring the CPP NPA NDF as Persona Non Grata, Oct. 21, 2020

Official Gazette, Executive Order No. 70, Series of 2018, Dec. 4, 2018

Lists of terrorist groups

European Union, EU member countries in brief | European Union, Oct. 26, 2020

European Union, The EU in brief,, Accessed Oct. 28, 2020

Country profile of UK

National Democratic Front, Revolutionary united front organization of the Filipino people » NDFP, Accessed Oct. 26, 2020

Official Gazette, Proclamation No. 374, Series of 2017, Accessed Oct. 26, 2020

Presidential Communications Operations Office, Duterte formally ends peace talks with the reds – Presidential Communications Operations Office, Nov. 24, 2017

United Nations, Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001), Sept. 28, 2001

Official Gazette, RA 11479, Accessed Oct. 26, 2020

Sen. Panfilo Lacson official webesite, Read: The Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 11479, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, Accessed Oct. 26, 2020

Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso official Twitter account, Huwag niyo na po ilagay sa Maynila yan. uubusin ko po yan., Oct. 22, 2020

Manila Mayor Francisco DOmagoso official Twitter Manila City Mayor @IskoMoreno on the removal of “persona non grata” tarpaulins: “Spread love, not hate, in the midst of this pandemic. Filipino kapwa Filipino magkaisa muna.”, Oct. 21, 2020

Anti-communist tarpaulins

PNP chief denies hands in the tarpaulins

Antonio Parlade Jr. official Facebook account, To our celebrities, keep yourselves informed, Oct. 20, 2017

Gabriela Youth member died

Antonio Parlade Jr. official Facebook account, If I will be asked again by CNN about the Persona non grata tarps in Mla this will be my response:..,Oct. 22, 2020

Gabriela Women’s Party official Facebook page, Parlade should stop red-tagging and... - Gabriela Women's Party, Oct. 22, 2020


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

FOR FURTHER READING

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