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âNo additonal pay for 8 spokespersons of NTF-ELCACâ
Esperon, NTF-ELCAC vice-chair, denied that the appointment of the new spokespersons would lead to additional expenses as alleged by opposition senators.
The STAR/Mong Pintolo, File photo

‘No additonal pay for 8 spokespersons of NTF-ELCAC’

Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) - May 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The eight spokespersons for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) will not get a single centavo of additional pay for their new jobs, according to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

Esperon, NTF-ELCAC vice-chair, denied that the appointment of the new spokespersons would lead to additional expenses as alleged by opposition senators.

“Contrary to their baseless speculations, our designated spokespersons are not offered any monetary reward for this extra work. It is basically gratis et amore for them and I am personally grateful that they rose up to the challenge,” Esperon said in a statement yesterday.

Senators Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros questioned the appointment of half a dozen more spokespersons, saying that the budget would be better off for other uses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Esperon hit back and said that the NTF-ELCAC spokespersons do not receive remuneration for their task, but only receive salaries and wages from their mother agencies.

“In fact, there are many other local NTF-ELCAC regional spokespersons who, like their national counterparts, do not get extra privileges. It’s just all extra work in line with the whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach in ending this senseless armed conflict,” he added.

Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, Undersecretary Severo Catura, Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago, lawyer Marlon Bosantog and Gaye Florendo were named as additional spokespersons depending on their thematic assignment.

Its two original spokespersons, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade and Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, were issued a gag order over their gaffe linking community pantries to communists.

This gaffe drew criticisms from lawmakers and the public, who called for their relief.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said that Esperon displayed “arrogance” for refusing to dismiss Parlade and instead designated six more mouthpieces.

Lacson alleged that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana promised that Parlade would be eased out of his position after the Senate’s call for his dismissal.

The Senate said that Parlade cannot serve in the civilian task force while serving as an active member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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