VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Youth commission chair gets gov’t peace policy wrong

National Youth Commission chair Ronald Cardema, rallying support for the Duterte administration’s “fight” against suspected communist rebels, painted a false picture of the government’s peace policy.


In a Jan. 16 episode of ABS-CBN News Channel’s Early Edition, Cardema said:

“The government right now is fighting the Left, especially those allied with the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army). President Duterte issued his pronouncement and DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) Sec. Eduardo Año issued his pronouncements and we, the National Youth Commission… are mandated to do our version for the youth sector.”

Source: @ANCALERTS, NYC chief urges SKs to help govt in its fight vs communist rebellion, Jan. 16, 2019, watch from 0:09 to 0:31

He also instructed Sangguniang Kabataan leaders to support state forces protecting them “against armed rebels” in their respective areas:

Ang aming main priority talaga diyan (Our priority) is for the government youth leaders, the SK, to support the government troops in their areas because… the police and the soldiers, they are the ones… securing their provinces, protecting our territories against terrorists, against armed rebels.”

Source: ABS-CBN News, National Youth Commission says some youth groups linked to communist rebels, Jan. 16, 2019, watch from 4:08 to 4:26


Cardema’s statements misrepresent Executive Order 70, ostensibly the government’s policy on matters concerning the CPP-NPA.

While in previous speeches, President Rodrigo Duterte had claimed he would “destroy” the CPP and create a kill squad against the NPA, the EO he signed Dec. 4 was a directive for the state to take on a more “humanitarian” approach toward suspected rebels.

EO 70 referred to a 1987 Constitution provision that “the Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy” and noted the need to “reframe” the government’s peace policy away from military solutions:

“There is a need to reframe and refocus the government policy for achieving inclusive and sustainable peace by recognizing that insurgencies, internal disturbances and tensions, and other armed conflicts and threats are not only military and security concerns, but are symptomatic of broader social, economic and historical problems, such as poverty, historical injustice, social inequality, and lack of inclusivity, among others.”

Source: Executive Order 70, s. 2018

The order tasks government agencies to take on a “whole-of-nation” approach against terrorism and extremism:

“The whole-of-nation approach addresses the root causes of insurgencies, internal disturbances and tensions, and other armed conflicts and threats by prioritizing and harmonizing the delivery of basic services and social development packages by the government, facilitating societal inclusivity, and ensuring active participation of all sectors of the society in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda.”

Source: Executive Order 70, s. 2018


Department of Interior and Local Government website, Communist movement in sharp decline; hemorrhaging from more than 8,000 rebel surrenderers – Año, Jan. 11, 2018.

Department of National Defense website, Task Force Balik-Loob, n.d.

Executive Order 70, s. 2018.

PCOO, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his visit to Camp Rajah Sikatuna and Turnover of the AFP-PNP housing units, Nov. 27, 2018

PCOO, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the Christmas gift giving and talk to troops, Dec. 22, 2018

(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.)