Senator Imee Marcos on Saturday called United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur Irene Khan “meddlesome” for urging the dismantling of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
“After a mere 10 days in the Philippines, during which she never visited the NTF barangays but only met a chosen few witnesses, she has the knowledge and the right to tell the Philippine government what to do?” the Senator asked.
“Not only are these foreigners meddlesome and out of their depth, she has also threatened that the Philippines’ ‘ambitious’ plan to lead the UN Commission on the Status of Women and obtain a seat on the UN Security Council depends on conforming with her ‘findings.’ Why exactly did we invite her anyway?” Marcos added.
On Friday, Khan recommended the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC as it was outdated.
“It does not take into account the ongoing prospects for peace negotiations. I, therefore, recommend that the task force should be abolished,” Khan said at a press conference.
However, Marcos also said Khan’s call was “hardly surprising, given her long-standing Amnesty International bias.”
To Marcos, dismantling the NTF-ELCAC would be “counter-productive, even dangerous” as thousands of rebels have peacefully returned to the fold of the law.
“The government has practically won against the communist insurgency, with only about 1,800 rebels left, according to our military and police,” Marcos explained, noting that it is important to maintain NTF-ELCAC’s presence and strengthen its mandate to continue the peaceful rehabilitation of rebel returnees.
GMA Integrated News has sought the UN Special Rapporteur’s response to Senator Marcos’ statement and will post her comment as soon as it is received.
The NTF-ELCAC was established in December 2018 by then-President Rodrigo Duterte to end the “local armed communist conflict” in the country.
Since then, the task force was repeatedly accused of red-tagging. — DVM, GMA Integrated News