Belgium probes NGOs’ links to CPP, NPA
Belgium is investigating claims by Philippine authorities that European governments are inadvertently giving funds to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that allegedly serve as fronts of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its political arm National Democratic Front of the Philippines, and military wing New People’s Army (NPA).
“We are aware of the claim made by the Philippine government. We take this claim seriously and have started immediately investigating the matter, together with the European authorities,” Belgian Ambassador to Manila Michel Goffin said in a statement.
Should the Philippines’ allegations be confirmed, Brussels will stop all further funding and initiate steps to recover the monies given to the NGOs, Gofffin said.
“The funding of NGOs is subject to strong legal requirements under Belgian law,” Goffin added.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it had evidence that NGOs serving as “communist terrorist front organizations” were receiving and misusing millions of euros given by European governments and donor groups.
A delegation from the Philippines met with EU officials last month to discuss the NGO funding allegations.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has formally asked the European Union to stop funding groups acting as legal fronts of communist rebels.
On March 26, Esperon wrote Gilles de Kerchove, EU counterterrorism coordinator, to ask the European Union to stop funding these groups.
Esperon named three Belgian NGOs with alleged links to the legal fronts of the CPP and the NPA.
These are the Solidagro, Viva Salud and Kiyo.
Other groups which receive EU funds, Esperon said, were the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development; Ibon Foundation; Karapatan; Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc.; the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines; the Salugpungan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc.; the Alliance of Health Workers; the Kilusang Mayo Uno; Gabriela; and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers. —WITH A REPORT FROM JULIE M. AURELIO
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