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Adding more NTF-ELCAC spokespersons just a waste of funds, solons say

At least two progressive lawmakers on Tuesday denounced the move of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to add more spokespersons.

Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said the additional spokespersons would only result in the "overdrive" of the alleged red-tagging activities of the anti-communist task force.

In a press statement, Zarate also said this would result in more disinformation as well as trumped-up charges and extrajudicial killings against critics of the government.

"Increasing its spokespersons is also a means for the over budgeted agency to just defuse the criticisms that [Lieutenant General Antonio] Parlade and [Undersecretary Lorraine] Badoy-Partosa are taking for their continued lies," he said.

"As it is though, even if they increase their spokespersons to a hundred, mouthing statements that would not stand in court, then they are just further wasting taxpayers money and earning more condemnation."

According to Zarate, the task force should instead be stopped from allegedly peddling more lies and harassment.

"Those who continue to do this should be held accountable because they are targeting everyone from the ordinary citizen, progressives, lawyers, media, church people and even elected officials," Zarate said.

Meanwhile, Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Elago also questioned the purpose of adding more spokespersons. She said this would just waste the nation's funds and would not help in addressing the pertinent issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Anong silbi nito sa pagtugon sa mga pangangailangan ng ayuda, bakuna, trabaho, at kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan?" she said in a separate statement.

(What's the use of this in addressing the needs for aid, vaccine, employment and livelihood of the Filipino citizens?)

"Hindi maitatago nito ang lantarang pagwawaldas ng pondo ng bayan sa pagpapakalat ng kasinungalingan at paninira lalo na sa mga kritikal at hindi sumasang-ayon sa mga mapang-abuso, korap, at anti-demokratikong patakaran ng administrasyon sa gitna ng pandemya at bagsak na ekonomiya," she added.

(This will not cover the spending and wasting of the country's funds for spreading lies against critics of the government amid the pandemic and economic crisis.)

On Monday, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. announced that aside from Parlade and Badoy, who were both retained, six more individuals have been tapped as spokespersons of NTF-ELCAC.

Esperon said the spokespersons would explain the body’s position on several matters. —KBK, GMA News