'We are a humanitarian organization,' Oxfam stresses after AFP labels them terrorist front

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
'We are a humanitarian organization,' Oxfam stresses after AFP labels them terrorist front
According to its website, Oxfam is an international confederation of 19 organizations networked together in more than 94 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty.
Oxfam sa Pilipinas Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — International organization Oxfam stressed that it is a humanitarian organization that operates globally in response to the Department of National Defense's assertion that it is linked to "communist terrorist groups."

In a statement, Oxfam said that they learned that the DND tagged its Philippine arm as a supposed front of local "communist terrorist groups" while its International and UK arm were branded as "foreign funding agencies wittingly or unwittingly providing funds" to "CTG front organizations."

Oxfam stressed that it has been legally registered and has been working in the Philippines for more than 30 years. It added that it works in "accordance with humanitarian principles, international law and the laws of donor governments and have stringent systems in place to ensure our aid gets to the people who need it most."

Maj. Gen. Reuben Basiao, Armed Force of the Philippines deputy chief of staff for intelligence, listed 18 organizations, including Oxfam and Gabriela Women’s Party, that he claimed are fronts of communist rebels.

Basiao made the claim at a briefing at the House of Representatives on updates on the AFP's modernization program.

RELATED: CHR warns of grave implications of red-tagging groups

Oxfam said aid that its humanitarian work across the globe being labelled as that from “local communist terrorist group” or a “funder of ‘communist terrorist group’” is troubling.

"These allegations affect not only us, but also put the communities and partners we work at risk," Oxfam said.

It added: “In a country where poverty remains, and poor communities are continually struck by disasters, we strongly believe that organizations like ours should be encouraged, rather than hindered, from undertaking our programs.”

Oxfam also releases reports on the wealth gap across the globe and conducts studies on poverty and other vulnerable sectors of society.

In the Philippines, Oxfam provides food, water and sanitation facilities, emergency shelter and protection to areas affected by natural disasters and to those affected by armed conflict in Mindanao.

Gabriela Women’s Party: Activism is not a crime

Rep. Arlene Brosas (Gabriela Women’s Party) also slammed the AFP's accusation of her group as a "clear attempt to criminalize dissent and weaponize the law."

"The Congress should not allow itself to be a platform for lies. Gabriela is here because we participate with the government," Brosas said in Filipino.

Gabriela Women’s Party won a seat in the 18th Congress in the 2019 midterm elections but is one of the 18 organizations listed by the AFP. It used to be part of the admnistration's 
supermajority at the House until leaving with other party-lists of the Makabayan bloc in September 2017 over disagreements with the Duterte administration's policies.

Brosas stressed that Gabriela is not an armed group and being an activist in the country is not a crime.

Red-tagging of progressive groups

Last April, Makabayan filed a complaint before the Commission on Elections accusing military officials of red-tagging and campaigning against its party-list groups.

Aspirants from Makabayan particularly focused on a post on the official Facebook page of the Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines titled “Junk CPP-NPA-NDF HOUSE FRONTS.”

Red-tagging is defined by Philippine jurisprudence as “the act of labelling, branding, naming and accusing individuals and/or organizations of being left-leaning, subversives, communists or terrorists (used as) a strategy... by State agents, particularly law enforcement agencies and the military, against those perceived to be ‘threats’ or ‘enemies of the State.’”

Members of several rights groups and the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers sought relief from the Court of Appeals against red-tagging as they said that their rights to life, liberty and security have been violated by “persistent threats and harassment, and red-tagging."

The court junked their pleas.

vuukle comment





  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with