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Military files terrorism financing raps vs CERNET; group denies allegation

The Visayas Command (VISCOM) has filed a complaint against humanitarian group Community Empowerment Resource Network (CERNET) over alleged terrorism financing.

According to the VISCOM, a preliminary hearing is set to be conducted on Thursday.

The complaint for the violation of Republic Act 10168 also known as the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 was filed in May, the military said.

“CERNET, a SEC-registered non-stock, non-profit organization based in Cebu City has long been utilized by the country's prime internal threat group, the Communist Terrorist Group (CT), on its fund generation scheme since 2001 basically to support its logistical and financial requirements,” the military said.

“In order for (communist terrorists) to sustain their atrocities and operations, they do not just rely from the money collected from the extortion activities, but they have mastered their fund generation scheme legally through the creation of NGOs,” it added.

In a statement, CERNET condemned the alleged persecution of the State to vilify the cause and mission of the organization.

“We strongly debunk the allegations mentioned in the complaint, especially when it is grounded on the lies and baseless accusations of their primary witness, Bernabe Nieves,” it said.

The group said Nieves was a former staff of CERNET terminated for grave misconduct and violation of CERNET Code of Ethics.

According to CERNET, the Philippine government targets and persecutes civil society organizations by weaponizing laws.

“These only endanger the lives of development organizations and workers as they strive in contributing towards the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” it said.—Joviland Rita/AOL, GMA Integrated News