Tell it to SunStar: Whole-of-nation approach, a black hole

By Karapatan Human Rights Group

The government is well aware that armed conflicts are rooted on the decades-long injustices perpetrated by the State against Filipinos, including those who seek for genuine societal reforms that address poverty and countless forms of exploitation, yet it refuses to back down on programs and policies such as the Rice Tariffication Law, its Build-Build-Build program and TRAIN law that impact on the welfare of the people. Through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the Duterte government uses a counterinsurgency program that employs brutal forms of attacks against communities and human rights defenders to pacify their opposition to these anti-people programs. It continues to weaponize the courts and the whole judiciary to go after critics. It continues to militarize the civilian bureaucracy, including line agencies that should deliver social services and local governments.

The NTF is a dangerous superbody that imposes de facto military rule in the country. Its logframes and indicators of success are measured through a yardstick that disregards political rights and civil liberties while ensuring the smooth implementation of government programs and projects that benefit big business and corrupt actors in power.