Gabriela Women's Party Representative Arlene Brosas on Monday called for "zero budget" and the abolition of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) after its spokesperson released a statement "red-tagging" members of the House Makabayan Bloc.
"The red-tagging and terror arm of the government should be abolished and its P19 billion budget be realigned to COVID-19 response," Brosas said in a statement.
"That would be enough to triple the proposed P6.7 billion budget for urgent COVID-19 response," she added.
In a statement over the weekend, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy called House Makabayan Bloc members "high-ranking party members" of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) whose goals are to weaken the government until it is totally destroyed "so that the CPP may topple our democracy and install, in its place, communism."
"They are shameless and relentless in their cynical use of government resources to weaken government. And they use hard-earned taxpayers' money to destroy the lives and the bright future of Filipinos and their children," Badoy added.
Brosas said NTF-ELCAC and Badoy have resorted to lumping activists and ordinary citizens in their "desperate" attempt to silence critics of the government, especially now that the Makabayan Bloc is exposing "pork barrel and lump sum funds" in the ongoing House budget deliberations.
"NTF-ELCAC has been rabid and consistent in red-tagging Gabriela Women's Party and other progressive organizations for voicing out the people's demands. They claim to uphold democracy, but want to silence people who are critical of the government’s corruption and inefficiencies," she said.
"Let's not waste even a single penny for its 2021 funding. Abolish the NTF-ELCAC and address the root causes of armed conflict which are landlessness, unemployment and poverty instead of resorting to red-tagging and murdering red-tagged activists and government critics," she added.
For her part, ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro pointed out that Badoy released her statement after she questioned the proposed P16-billion barangay development program for communities "cleared" of insurgency under the NTF-ELCAC.
Castro surmised that the huge allocation would only be used as "pork barrel" for the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Instead of red-tagging progressive lawmakers, Castro said Badoy and the NTF-ELCAC should just explain the questioned funds before Congress.
"Kailangan paalalahanan si Usec. Badoy at ang mga kasama niya sa NTF-ELCAC na sila ang dapat magpaliwanag sa Kongreso kung saan napupunta at paano ginagamit ang budget na ito ng NTF-ELCAC pati na ang napakalaking travel expences ng PCOO," she said.
"Trabaho namin ang busisiin ang pondo ng mamamayan at siguraduhin na hindi ito gagamitin laban sa mga mamamayang nagbabayad ng buwis para sa kanilang mga programang anti-mamamayan. Hindi mapipigilan ng pananakot nila ang pag-expose natin sa mga kuwestyonableng pondo ng NTF-ELCAC na ito," she added.
GMA News Online has reached out to Badoy for comment but she has yet to respond as of posting time. —LDF, GMA News